RYEDALE Lions Club has come to the rescue of three residents of the Thornton Dale almshouses.

Unable to make the steep mile-long trip to the village from their temporary accommodation on the edge of the village, the Lions club has provided each of them with a mobility scooter while their almshouse homes are refurbished.

Margaret Fletcher, Clerk to the Trustees of the Lady Lumley’s Almshouses, said the residents moved a mile away from the centre of Thornton Dale to Hurrell Lane last October - up the steep hill from the village shops and off the bus route.

“The scooters have kept three of our residents with walking difficulties independent and able to get to the shops on their own," she added.

"I don’t know what we would have done without them. It’s a wonderful Lions’ service."

Steve Swires, 65, who has osteoarthritis in both knees and cannot walk far said he had tried to walk down into the village but had been in massive pain afterwards.

"Somebody in the village mentioned the Lions provided scooters and I suggested that we try them," he added.

“The scooter is a good old bus and climbs the steep hill well. I use it every day to get to the doctors, shops and into the village."

Gill Davies, aged 69 and with arthritis in her legs, said her condition made walking any distance impossible.

“I never learnt to drive but my neighbour Dorothy encouraged me to try her scooter. I never thought I would do it. But it’s given me more confidence, a sense of achievement and independence. It’s so lovely to get out without having any pain,” she added.

Gill said: “I’m not Lewis Hamilton but I did get caught in a police radar trap for going too fast on a cycle when I was younger."

Dorothy Bell, aged 82, said she used her scooter to get to the shops as well as meeting friends for lunch.

“I always had a car and you have to watch the busy roads. But the scooter has been wonderful,” she said.

Such has been the value of the scooters that they are now thinking of asking to keep them even when they return home in a few months time.

Ryedale Lions Club has loaned out mobility scooters for 20 years and there are now more than 50 in constant use.

Lions member Tim Pickering, of Eastgate, Pickering, who runs and maintains the fleet, said: “It’s amazing what a difference a mobility scooter can make.

"For people who might otherwise not be able to leave their homes on their own they bring independence and freedom. It’s one of the many ways in which the Lions Club offers help to the community."

The scooters are distributed in the north of Ryedale in and around Pickering to Helmsley, subject to availability and taking into account the person’s individual needs and merits. More scooters are also welcomed by the club. Anyone interested in loaning or donating a scooter can contact Tim Pickering on 07771 696175.