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Still mobile with a Luggie scooter

The Luggie scooter is helping people stay mobile, even during this period of pandemic lockdowns - people like Dr John Thearle, a polio survivor.

The Luggie scooter is helping people stay mobile, even during this period of pandemic lockdowns.

Dr John Thearle has spent decades teaching and practising medicine. He’s also a polio survivor from the 1940s. As is true for many, late effects of Polio (LEOP) have made it difficult for him to get about. But John is turning to new technologies to help solve the problem, technologies he says have given him his life back: exploring and enjoying Brisbane, going to the cinema and cafes, and even considering interstate travel once the spectre of Covid-19 has faded.

John and his wife Marylou have had their fair share of adventures. Four years after graduating, John got a post as a ship’s surgeon and sailed to Europe. He met Marylou, a nurse from Brisbane, while working in his Paediatric speciality. They were both part of close-knit and vibrant communities of ex-pats and doctors in Bath, Bristol and Edinburgh.

A man wearing glasses, a short-sleeve button-up shirt, and shorts, seated on a Luggie scooter with a water garden visible in the background.
The Luggie scooter has opened up options for local adventures for John and Marylou. Credit: Scooters Australia

Fifty years and a lifetime of providing healthcare later, the couple are well-equipped to understand the scope and implications of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Being part of a high-risk group has given them some pause for thought, but they have by no means stayed shut up inside. The duck ponds and university grounds of St Lucia, Brisbane are regular destinations, offering sunny and idyllic alternatives to the computer screens many of us have been stuck with.

But until Christmas Eve of last year, outdoor expeditions weren’t really a possibility for John. He was using a walking stick and a wheelie-walker to help him move, which only partially alleviated his problems. He could manage short trips from the car to a shopping centre, but not much more.

Tipped off by a patient of Marylou, now practising as a Podiatrist, the couple visited a mobility scooter store in Chermside. They left bearing a curious little machine, a Luggie Scooter. Its small and manoeuvrable frame was perfect for John. He could make it to nearby parks on his own steam or he could transport it in the boot of his Camry to go further afield. Air travel was now even a possibility. Covid-19 poured cold water over the couple’s plans to visit their daughter in Sydney, but they are confident that they’ll make it there soon, and who knows where after that. 

Kavita Shetty, who sold the Luggie scooter to John and Marylou, says that their story is becoming increasingly common.

“More than anything else, people want to stay mobile. They hear about the Luggie scooter and it changes their life,” she said.

“Fingers crossed the world opens back up soon, and we can all return to exploring and enjoying the outdoors, including John and Marylou.”

For more information on the Luggie Scooter visit or phone 1300 622 633.

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