A stolen scooter in Littlehampton led to the launch of a national database that helps reunite owners with their mobility transport.
It was thanks to Alan Gammon, a Littlehampton Shopmobility trustee, and his efforts that the National Mobility Register went live and he has now been recognised with an award.
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, one of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes, presented Mr Gammon with an individual special recognition award from the British Healthcare Trades Association for his outstanding contribution to Littlehampton Shopmobility and to the work that went into the early development of the database.
Mr Gammon said: “The award to me is a big thank you from mobility disabled people all over the UK appreciating the work that went into addressing the problem with lost or stolen mobility scooters.”
When a scooter was stolen from outside a supermarket in Littlehampton a couple of years ago, Mr Gammon saw first hand the impact on the owner and decided to try to do something about it.
He compiled a database in Littlehampton in 2015 as an aid for the police to help them identify owners of lost or stolen class two scooters and below.
The initial database ran successful for nearly two years before being further developed by the National Federation of Shopmobility. It then became an online database, which was launched at the NEC in Birmingham in March this year.
The federation now runs and administers the database from Wellingborough in Northamptonshire and it serves the whole of the UK.
Mr Gammon said the award ceremony, which took place in the trades association’s centenary year, was ‘a remarkable evening’ at Park Plaza London Riverside.
“Nationally there is an estimated 450,000 unregistered mobility scooters trundling up and down the streets and town centres every day. When a mobility scooter goes missing, only around 25 per cent are recovered.
“Sussex Police were the first to support the idea and assisted with the information requirements that the database should hold. This is now another toolbox for the police to try to keep on top of this type of crime.
“It also is a boon to the charity, as a part of the registration fee is donated to the local Shopmobility where it is registered and the owner also has the opportunity to choose the shop that will receive the donation.”