Community clubs together to replace motorcycle of theft victim

A 'vulnerable' man with learning difficulties is gifted a new scooter using money raised locally after his was stolen by teenagers

Mr McKeown

At a time when the world seems a remarkably gloomy place when you switch on the news, it reassuring to know there is still good happening if you look for it.

Granted this good news story (remember those…?) occurs as a direct result of a bad experience but we won’t grant too much article time to these crooks in this tale and focus on those that deserve our attention.

On January 27, Keith McKeown had his white Honda motorcycle stolen by group of teenagers when it was locked up outside AV Taylor motorcycle spares and repairs in Pelaw, Gateshead.

The 56-year old, who has learning difficulties and is described as vulnerable, and had only owned the motorcycle for six months but since police were unable to identify those responsible, any hope of it being returned was slim.

Upon hearing this, staff at AV Taylor and the wider community clubbed together to gift Mr McKeown a new 125cc scooter to replace the stolen one.

So, a great story already. But it’s the community spirit of this tale that really warms our hearts.

The scooter was originally going to be auctioned off as a prize, with customers at AV Taylor purchasing a ‘Bonus Ball’ for £15 that would give them the chance to win it.

Instead, manager Michael Lee contacted everyone who had purchased the balls and explained the situation to ask whether they would object to the money being donated towards gifting the scooter to Mr McKeown. Despite giving the option of a refund, Mr Lee says everyone was happy to do their bit.

Together with other local businesses chipping in – plus AV Taylor donating its own cash in honour of its loyal patron - enough money was raised to cover the value of the scooter so it could be gifted to Mr McKeown.

"He has ridden a bike for many years now and had only had this bike for six months,” Mr McKeown’s sister and carer, Julie told The Northern Echo

“He was inside the shop when a woman came in and told him his bike was being stolen. He tried to chase them but he couldn’t catch them.

“Keith was devastated that it was stolen. He absolutely loves his bikes and he was really, really upset by what happened.

”But he was really grateful for what the shop did and is really pleased to be able to ride his scooter again. I just want to say thank you to the shop and everyone who donated.”