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Born to Be Wild – local care home resident’s motorbike wish is a Triumph

Highlighted home news

An Eye care home organised a hair-raising surprise for a resident wanting to relive his youth.

When the team at Care UK’s Hartismere Place, on Castleton Way, discovered that 85-year-old resident Tony Whitehead was an avid motorcyclist in his youth, they were determined to make his wish to relive his biker days come true. 

Tony has been interested in motorbikes since the age of 16 and remains a current member of the Vincent H.R.D Owners Club. In his younger days, Tony owned many bikes including a Vincent Black Prince 1000cc, a Triumph and even a Velocette ex-police bike – despite never having been in the police himself. 

To help Tony reminisce about his fond memories of repairing, reconditioning and riding motorcycles, the team arranged for a local biker group to make a surprise journey to the home. Tony was delighted to see Claire Martin, Home Manager of Hartismere Place, among the line-up, a member of the group who he has formed a close bond with through their shared interests. 

Sophie Wilson, a senior care assistant and fellow biker at Hartismere Place, also joined the convoy, bringing along some of her friends and amplifying the team spirit.

Tony, said: “Seeing all those bikes was incredible – I couldn’t believe everyone was there for me! 

“It was lovely to see some familiar bikes, like the Triumph, but also to see Greg among the group, an old colleague of mine who I hadn’t seen for years, and Claire and Sophie as well!”

The visit was part of the home’s Wishing Tree Initiative, which encourages residents to put wishes forward, allowing them to reconnect with a past hobby or try something completely new – from flying on a plane to enjoying a fish and chip supper, no wish is too big or small.

Claire Martin, Home Manager at Hartismere Place, added: “I share Tony’s passion for motorbikes, and so when he shared his wish, I was thrilled to help make it come true. It was amazing to be part of such a wonderful surprise, and to learn even more about his love for biking.

“Our Wishing Tree initiative is a wonderful way for residents to share with us their ambitions and it’s hugely rewarding to be able to make these a reality. Tony has always loved reminiscing about the trips he used to go on riding his motorbike, so it was an incredibly special moment to see his face light up when he saw the bikes approaching. 

“He’s had a smile on his face ever since, and so have we. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the group for coming to visit us, and for making Tony’s day!”

Hartismere Place has been designed to deliver the very best standards of care and to enable residents to live active and fulfilled lives. The home provides full-time residential, residential dementia, as well as short term respite care.

To find out more about Hartismere Place, please contact Senior Customer Relations Manager, Angela Hodge, on 01379 888276, email or visit

Open to new residents

Castleton Way, Eye, Suffolk, IP23 7DD

Hartismere Place

CQC Rating: Outstanding
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Day club
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care

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