Bob’s blog 3: The extreme X8 and a trip to the beach

Moni collared me after the weigh in on Day 1 of the holiday. She said in an instantly recognisable Bavarian accent “You look awfy pale, verging on the peely wally. I’ve got something that will bring colour to your cheeks”. Consternation was the word that immediately sprang to mind. Moni is our Lead Physiotherapist and her department is respected for ensuring guests achieve and exceed their potential. This often involves a little more exercise than they’re used to!

What surprise was being planned for me? Well, what a surprise it was! I was TOLD, no that’s not the Leuchie way, I was STRONGLY ADVISED that it would be in my best interest to wrap up warmly.

I was woken up on the Saturday, as usual, by my ‘pet’ pheasant at some ridiculously early hour squawking or whatever pheasants do to get people out of their beds! When the carers came in at a slightly more civilised time, there was not a cloud in the sky and my surprise day was off to a great start.

The surprise was an invitation to the official opening of Len’s Den the home of the Extreme X8, a brand new £9k power Beach Wheelchair, and me being volunteered to be the first member of the public to have a shot. Beach Wheelchairs is a charity run entirely by volunteers enabling the disabled to access the beach that they might never have had the chance in the past.

You may remember the monsters at Truck Fest, well, the wheels on the X8 are the wheelchair equivalent! Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but you’ll understand when you see the pictures.

A moment of hilarity, the combined brains of the Physio department couldn’t fathom out why the hoist was struggling to lift me and then noticed the chair was going up as well. They quickly realised that they needed to release my seat belt before they could transfer me to the X8! This wasn’t the first time it has happened and it certainly won’t be the last! Senior carer Jim will not want to be reminded of the incident in the large bathroom.

Beach wheelchair volunteer, Mel, drove me to the West Beach where the sand was more challenging, you know me, I like a challenge. We went up and down a slope and it wasn’t long before the rest of the team decided to get in on the act. The chair was speeded up and I wanted to do wheelies a la Top Gear but Mel drew a line under that.

On the way back to base I saw a large mound of sand and said to Mel “Let’s go over that”. The X8 coped well but the team looked on in horror as the chair did a good imitation of a 4x4 going over a rocky incline. Moni’s mission was accomplished. My cheeks were almost the same colour as the bobble hat courtesy of Patricia!

It was an incredible experience and I urge Leuchie guests to put the beach on their wish list for their holiday not forgetting to add sunny and warm weather. When they go remind their carers to release their seat belt on transfer!

This has been the most amazing day and by far the best activity I have been on in the 5 years I have been coming to Leuchie. It was great. It brought back fond memories of when I grew up at Elmer Sands, just by Bognor Regis. I lived 200 metres from the beach where I regularly guddled in rock pools and built sand castles. You might not have heard of Elmer, but its recent claim to fame was last year, when a WW2 1000kg sea mine was exposed on the beach, towed out to sea and detonated by the Royal Navy. It made a big splash on the national TV news!

Editor’s note – If you enjoyed this Blog, and haven’t read the earlier ones, click here