Blog Fun at St Wilfrid’s

Hogsback Harley Davidsons visit St Wilfrid’s Hospice Patients

Jasmine Cotton
Jasmine Cotton

Thursday 13th July 2023 would have been a very normal day for most people, but for our patients and their loved ones, it was a very special morning.

A convoy of Harley Davidsons from the Hogsback Chapter in Guildford arrived at 11:30am, and were greeted by patients and their loved ones, Hospice volunteers, and staff.

You could hear the roar of the bikes as they pulled into the Hospice car park, and soon after was a big cheer from everyone eagerly awaiting their arrival.

We couldn’t quite believe how many riders had come to visit us, it truly was an impressive sight to see upwards of 12 Harley Davidsons parked up outside the Hospice cafe. It was certainly not something you see every day, and certainly not something most people expect to see at a Hospice.

Soon after their arrival, patients, volunteers, and a handful of staff started to get ready in leathers and helmets for their exciting ride out to Emsworth and back.

One of our patients on the Ward, Beverly, was thrilled that we had a chapter of Harleys coming to visit. Bev is a massive Harley Davidson fan, and she had fond memories of her Brother and his bikes. She told us a little bit about what the visit meant to her:

“It reminded me of so many Summer days with my Brother and his friends. When the bikes pulled in, the noise from a Harley is very distinctive and everybody was standing in the Hospice cafe waiting for them to arrive, and I started cheering and then everyone else started cheering.

Being on a bike on a Summers day, it was amazing. Hilary was fantastic, she said ‘you’re coming with me’ and at first, I was scared because it was painful to get on to the Harley, but the nurses and two very nice Harley dudes came along and helped me get on, and it was so worth it and I’m so glad I was able to do that.”

“The memories, especially being at this stage of my life and being at a Hospice, to have that kind of connection to something that is so important to me, it was just amazing. My brother had his own Harley; he had his 1999 Ultra Glide and he had others throughout his life, but that was his pride and joy.

Unfortunately, I never got to go out on his bike with him as I have been in the UK for 23 years and I haven’t been back. Now that he’s gone, we still have connections through friends; his kids don’t know me very well, as they were babies when I moved to the UK, but we connect through the Harleys!

It was really nice to have that kind of connection with the Harley group, it felt like family. And Harley people are family, any chapters will tell you that. It would be really wonderful if they came back next year, it would be a really nice tradition.”

Some of the patients who couldn’t go out for a ride got to spend some time with the riders to admire and chat all things Harley Davidsons! Pictured here is Frank with his family enjoying the bikes.

Many patients were able to come outside and spend some time with their loved ones, and it certainly was a morning to remember.

Of course, a few members of staff couldn’t refuse the offer of a ride or a photo with a Harley Davidson! Here are Glynis and Jayne from our Hospice at Home team enjoying a few minutes to admire the bikes and pose for a photo.

Some of our volunteers got involved too, including Ali who says “This was truly brilliant, one of the best things I’ve done in such a long time. Happy that I was given the ride by Ken and received a fridge magnet and a certificate. I hope they come back and others get to experience this amazing treat.”

David Hardcastle, Secretary of the Hogsback Chapter UK says “The Hogsback Chapter were knocked out by the excited and warm welcome we received as we rode into the Hospice car park to see all the patients, staff and volunteers cheering us in.

There’s nothing we like more than riding, displaying, and talking about our bikes to anyone who’s interested. Then, given what an amazing job the staff and volunteers do down here at St Wilfrid’s, it was a privilege to be able to take out the patients, staff and volunteers who wanted a ride down to Emsworth, and bring everyone back with such smiles on their faces. We’ll be back – you can count on that.”

The Hogsback Chapter UK is based at the Guildford Harley Davidson Dealership and has around 400 members based mainly in the Guildford area, but also from all around the country and a number of international members. They are the most active Chapter in the UK and affiliated to H.O.G.(c) the official Harley-Davidson Owners Group.

 

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