Published: 13:00, 23 November 2017
A disabled gran in a mobility scooter had a nerve-jangling stand-off with a 10-ton tanker over Yalding Bridge when the two met bumper to bumper half-way across.
Pensioner Ann Orchard stood her ground for 10 minutes, but was eventually forced to reverse over the narrow bridge in her scooter when the stubborn HGV driver refused to budge.
The 80-year-old was navigating the narrow medieval crossing on her way home from a doctor’s appointment when she was confronted by the imposing fuel tanker.
The gutsy gran, from Medway Avenue, regularly uses the bridge because the pavement is too narrow and cobblestoned, making it too difficult to use in a wheelchair.
Her daughter Helen Martin captured the hair-raising moment as she walked behind on the pavement while escorting her mum to the GP surgery in Benover Road.
She said: “Mum can’t get about easily as she has osteoarthritis, bad hips and several other conditions.
“Mum was really shaken up and upset by it. It makes her think twice about going out" - Helen Martin
“She can only walk indoors and can’t get out and about unless she’s in a wheelchair or on her scooter and sometimes she’s not even well enough for that.”
The 40-year-old, who works as a lunchtime supervisor at Yalding Primary School, is also a full-time carer for her mum and 78-year-old dad Dave.
She added: “The pavement over the bridge is too narrow and is cobblestoned so she can’t use it as it shakes her chair too much.
“Even when I push her in the wheelchair we have to use the road.
“A lot of drivers are really nice and will stop and let you go. It was clear so I told her to go.”
Although there is a layby to allow cars to pass in the middle of the bridge, the lorry didn’t use it and instead drove straight towards frail Mrs Orchard.
“He could see mum, but he didn’t care” Mrs Martin, of Marden, added.
“He could have gone into the layby. I shook my head at him and then he started swearing at me.
“He was so rude.”
A driver behind the lorry pulled into the layby to allow Mrs Orchard to pass – but that was only after she had to reverse her mobility scooter awkwardly all the way back to the start of the bridge.
“Mum was really shaken up and upset by it. It makes her think twice about going out.
“She’s had her mobility scooter a couple of years but this sort of thing shakes her confidence.
“The whole thing makes me so angry. There was no need for that lorry driver’s attitude.”