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Born to be wild... great gran Joan’s Harley joyride
A 91-YEAR-OLD great grandmother fulfilled a lifelong dream on Southend seafront – taking a ride on the back of a Harley-Davidson.
Joan Hooper climbed aboard the powerful bike on Wednesday, after bumping into members of the Lakeside Harley-Davidson Breakfast Club at Bobby Jo’s Diner, in Eastern Esplanade.
Ever since her late husband, Leonard, started riding motorbikes, Mrs Hooper, of Riveria Drive, Southend, said she had dreamed of jumping on to the back of a Harley.
When she saw the bikes roll up to the restaurant while having a cuppa there, Mrs Hooper, who has seven grandchildren four great-grandchildren could not resist asking for a ride.
Mrs Hooper said: “Me and my daughters were talking to the bikers and I decided to ask them if I could go for a ride with them.
“They turned round and said yes.
“They found me a helmet and a leather jacket to wear and then I got on. We went for a couple of miles along the seafront towards Chalkwell and back again.
“The man I was with kept asking if he was going too fast, but I kept saying ‘no, go faster’.
“It was a wonderful experience. I’d definitely do it again if I had the chance.”
The group even let her hang on to the leather waistcoat she wore, as a keepsake – complete with a special badge on it which entitles her to join the bikers at future Breakfast Club meetings.
Her daughter, Penny Harper, 61, said: “Mum has hardly taken the jacket off since they gave it to her. She absolutely loves it.”
Harley club member Terry Isaacs said: “There were 11 of us in Bobby Jo’s, just eating and having a joke when Joan’s daughter came over and said her mum had a list of things she still wanted to do and riding on a Harley was one of them.
“We were more than happy to oblige. One of the riders, John Skelton, has a trike, which we thought would be better for Joan to ride on.
“It was absolutely fantastic to help Joan. Afterwards, we gave her our chapter’s patch and she even recited our chapter vow.
“That was so funny to see.
“I told her when we left, anytime she finds another guy wearing the patch, they will do anything she asks – so we’re all at her beck and call now!”