MANY octogenarians have left the life in the fast lane long behind them.
But 86-year-old Jean Underwood, a resident at Bridge House care home in Abingdon, is only just getting started after she fulfilled a lifetime ambition to ride on a Harley-Davidson.
The grandmother, who was born and raised in the town, donned a helmet and leather jacket and was taken for a spin around the Oxfordshire countryside last week on the back of one of the world-famous motorbikes.
She said: “I’ve always loved riding on motorbikes but the last time I did it was in 1957.
“Back then there was no thoughts on safety and you would just jump on.
“I never got a chance to ride on a Harley and just always thought it would be so exciting.
“I couldn’t believe I did it, it was awesome.
“I loved every minute, and it bought back some fond memories for me.”
Jean’s son Mark flew in from Dubai and her daughter Diane from Portugal to see her realise her dream.
They were joined by Jean’s other daughter, Karen, who lives locally, and staff and residents from the care home to see her off by playing Born to be Wild and wave flags.
The escapade was part of the the home in Thames View’s ‘wish Wednesdays’ initiative, which sees care home staff do all they can to fulfill the dreams of one of their residents each week.
It is part of a programme of activities to bring residents together and make them happier.
Chantelle Merritt, the lifestyle co-ordinator at Bridge House, said: “Jean told us at Christmas that it was always her dream to ride a Harley and we just had to find a way to make it happen.
“It was so unexpected because she’s actually a very shy woman.
“We looked for someone who would be prepared to give Jean a ride on a Harley for ages – including motor bike clubs.
“We nearly had to give up when we discovered that the partner of one of our carers owned a Harley and was delighted to make Jean’s wish come true
“As she whizzed off up the street everyone was cheering in amazement.
“Her grandchildren think they have the coolest grandma ever.
“The fact that she did it shows you are never to old to give up on your dreams.
“Care homes have a bad reputation but your life does not have to stop when you enter one, you can still do amazing things.”