Anne Turner had always dreamt of riding a Harley Davidson, but at 83 and now terminally ill, the great-grandmother thought she would never get the chance. After her daughter put out on a call on social media, bikers from across the UK turned up to make her dying wish happen. Rachael Turner posted a plea on Facebook asking for help to fulfil her mother’s bucket list wish and was shocked to be inundated with hundreds of calls and messages. When around 60 bikers arrived at her home in Balham, south London, last month, Anne not only got to sit on a Harley, but was even taken for a spin. After the trip she was even made an honorary member of the Hells Angels by the group and ‘knighted’ with one of their T-shirts.
Anne, who is suffering from both lung and bowel cancer, as well as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), was taken from her home to nearby Tooting Common then back again. After finishing her ride, Anne said: ‘Today’s been absolutely brilliant, people have been so kind. ‘You hear horrible things that go on in the world, and then you hear something like this. So there are more good than bad people. ‘I don’t call them Hells Angels, I call them knights of the realm.’ After making the post, Rachael said she was flooded with messages from Harley owners.
The 46-year-old added: ‘I put something on Facebook asking for anyone with a Harley Davidson to help her live her dream. I was just looking for one person. ‘But the next day, not even 24 hours later, my phone was going crazy, I had hundreds upon hundreds of messages offering to come, it was mad. ‘One woman said her family has Harleys so I thought it would just be her and her family, but as the week progressed I got more and more calls from people wanting to come.
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When I saw how many arrived, I couldn’t believe it. ‘There were about 50 or 60 bikers in the end, they came from all over the country. One woman got her bike MOT’d and fixed up just to come out for mum. One man gave her a scarf he’d taken on all his rides. It really captured a lot of people’s imagination, there were so many positive comments on social media.
At first I was worried what the neighbours might think, but they all came out and took pictures as well. It was amazing, people were saying “where did all those bikers come from?”‘ Sadly not long after her bike ride, Anne’s condition deteriorated and she is now bed-ridden and needs round-the-clock care. Rachael added: ‘The bike ride came just in time and we are so grateful she got to do it. She absolutely loved it. ‘She has talked about wanting to ride on a Harley for years – since I was little – and the fact she got to do it was so wonderful.
‘She was crying, she was laughing, people were cheering her name, she was so happy she got to do the one thing she wanted. ‘We thought she was only going to be able to sit on one, but she managed to go for a ride. She said it was the most amazing experience she ever had. ‘We’re not sure if she will be here for Christmas, we just don’t know how long she has. But she’s a very stubborn lady, she still has all her faculties.’