Duchess revs up support to help region’s elderly people

The Duchess of Northumberland showed off her wild side by riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to help promote a campaign which supports elderly people.

Her antics came as part of a special event on Saturday to mark the launch of a Newcastle Harley-Davidson and Geordie HOG Chapter fund-raising push for the Elderberries Programme.

The Duchess of Northumberland on a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

The Duchess of Northumberland on a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

The project, based at the Garden, supports the elderly by addressing loneliness, poverty and isolation and promoting healthy living and fulfilled quality of life, offering opportunities such as learning, health and well-being.

The Duchess, who rode into the attraction on the bike and also got a temporary tattoo at the event, said: “Harley-Davidson’s involvement is important because it reminds people that age should be irrelevant if you want to experience something new.

“The Harley-Davidson brand is timeless and it means as much to an 18-year-old as it does to an 80-year-old.”

She added that Northumberland is a rural area with an elderly, isolated population and it was important to improve the quality of life for the elderly in the region. “That is what Elderberries and Saturday’s event aims to address.”

The launch of a Newcastle Harley-Davidson and Geordie HOG Chapter fundraising push for the Elderberries at The Alnwick Garden.'The Duchess of Northumberland arrived in the Garden on the back of Ray Hales bike.

The launch of a Newcastle Harley-Davidson and Geordie HOG Chapter fundraising push for the Elderberries at The Alnwick Garden.'The Duchess of Northumberland arrived in the Garden on the back of Ray Hales bike.

The Alnwick Garden was transformed with a real American theme, including a diner selling burgers. There were a series of afternoon games, presentations from guest speakers and a raffle.

The festivities kicked off at 10am and included live performances from acoustic band Firelight Opera, rock band Zephyr, rock and ’60s band The Wanderers and solo artist Scott Kiers.

Visitors without a motorcycle licence were able to enjoy a test ride aboard the Jumpstart, which allows riders to experience the thrill of the V-Twin rumble beneath them and the wind in their hair while changing gears and revving the throttle.

The Harley group also completed a Route NE66 tour, ending at Alnwick Castle and raising more than £1,500.

It came just a day after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt highlighted the extent of chronic loneliness in the UK.