Bikers make terminally-ill Portsmouth mum's dream come true with huge Vespa ride

HUNDREDS of kind-hearted bikers from across the country have put a huge smile on the face of a woman who is terminally ill.

Monday, 19th August 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 19th August 2019, 8:21 am
Vespa rally for Lorraine Marshall of Eastney, who is terminally ill. Pictured at Sainbury's Farlington. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (180819-18)

Portsmouth mum Lorraine Marshall, who has stage four terminal cancer of the lung and liver, has only ever taken her Vespa scooter as far as QA Hospital.

But yesterday, she fulfilled a lifelong dream as around 300 riders joined her for a ride out to Petersfield.

The 50-year-old from Eastney was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in October last year.

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Lorraine Marshall, centre, aboard her scooter with fellow riders. Vespa rally for Lorraine Marshall of Eastney, who is terminally-ill. Pictured at Sainbury's Farlington. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (180819-21)

Answering the call on social media, Vespa enthusiasts from Portsmouth, Gosport, and even as far afield as West Somerset, were determined to give Lorraine a day to remember.

Lee Grover, 55 from Cosham, said: ‘My brother-in-law has leukemia so this was something that really hit home for me.

‘It’s close to my heart and I really wanted to show my support for Lorraine.

‘It’s such a shame to think about her situation, but she’s very brave – I can only imagine what it’s like to be in her shoes.’

Vespa rally for Lorraine Marshall of Eastney, who is terminally ill. Pictured at Sainbury's Farlington. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (180819-20)

After an appeal through Vespa Owners’ Club UK, people from far and wide were touched by Lorraine’s story.

Phil and Emma Snook, from West Somerset, said: ‘This day was for a really good cause so I’m glad we were able to come down for the ride.

‘You’d like to think that people would do the same for you – it’s very special.'

Arriving at the meeting point, the car park of Sainsbury’s in Farlington, Lorraine was fighting back the tears as she saw the bikers waiting for her.

Vespa rally for Lorraine Marshall of Eastney, who is terminally ill. Lorraine is pictured at Sainbury's Farlington. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (180819-29)

‘I just want to say thank you to everybody who has come out,' she said.

‘This has made me so very happy. I love riding; even when you’re not well you can just go out by yourself.

‘It’s a dream come true for me – there are so many people here, I couldn’t quite believe it when I rode in.

‘These fantastic guys have organised everything for me, it’s amazing.’

Collection boxes for Rowans Hospice were passed around on the day, before the bikers lined up for the 14 mile ride up to Petersfield.

The bike ride has been on Lorraine's bucket list ever since her diagnosis – and she remains positive, hoping to tick off a few more things, including a skinny dip and celebrating her 10th wedding anniversary.