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Rolling Rides help Orpington woman fulfil dying wish to ride Harley-Davidson with trip from Sevenoaks

A woman with a life-limiting illness has been granted one of her final wishes – by a group of bikers.

Ellie Lawton, 59, from Orpington, is in the last stages of terminal cancer and wanted to ride on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorbike as part of her bucket list.

Ellie Lawton was given her dying wish to ride on the back of a Harley-Davidson
Ellie Lawton was given her dying wish to ride on the back of a Harley-Davidson

She contacted the Rolling Rides bikers group and asked if they could help.

The answer was a resounding yes and yesterday morning around 200 bikers gathered at the Sainsbury’s car park in Riverhead, near Sevenoaks, to escort Ellie as she travelled pillion behind Gary Barnard on his Harley-Davidson on a trip to the 1066 cafe at Robertsbridge, where the bikers bought her lunch.

Speaking before they set off, Ellie, of Stanley Way, Orpington, said: “I hope I’m strong enough to do the whole ride. I’ve been resting all week in preparation. I’m so looking forward to it.”

Ellie had a motorbike of her own in her younger days, but said: “Never a big machine like a Harley. They were too heavy for me to handle.”

She was diagnosed with large cell neuroendocrine cancer, a rare and aggressive form of the disease, in February last year.

Initially, her chemotherapy treatment at Guy’s Hospital in London looked hopeful, but after a second bout of chemo, doctors told her that not only was the cancer still present, but it had spread.

She was told she might have between three to six months to live. That was two months ago.

She said: “I can't fault the staff at Guy's. They have been wonderful.”

She also praised her best friend, Caroline Smith, who had accompanied her to every hospital appointment. She said: “We’ve laughed together and cried together.”

After her bike ride, Ellie has two more wishes to fulfill.

She is having an “awake” party with her friends on February 9.

She said: “I want to get them all together while I’m still alive, not at my funeral.”

Her final wish is to touch an elephant. And she has an elephant experience visit at Howletts Zoo booked for February 14.

Mark Hopgood, from Bexill-on-Sea, founded the Rolling Rides two years ago as a group of biker enthusiasts who get together for charity events and to make wishes come true for people like Ellie.

The riders came from across the southeast, with Mark from Polegate near Eastbourne.

Ellie Lawton wanted a last ride on a Harley Davidson
Ellie Lawton wanted a last ride on a Harley Davidson

He said: “Ellie is a lovely lady and we are pleased to help. She told us she wanted a proper ride out, not just round the corner – even offering to pay for the petrol! We told her that wouldn’t be necessary.”

She was given a 35-mile trip down the A21. The bikers’ convoy was supported by a car carrying Ellie’s carer in case the journey proved too much.

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