An adventurous hotelier with Parkinson’s has completed an epic charity scooter ride from Wales to Spain.
Joe Sarrionandia, who runs the Strathmore hotel in the Welsh seaside town of Tenby, raised more than £2,000 for Parkinson’s UK Cym.
The 55-year-old father of three feared his riding days were over after he received his diagnosis. But along with two friends, Andrew Williams and Ian Thomas, he rode from Tenby to Plymouth, before crossing the Bay of Biscay on the overnight ferry and making his way from Santander on a Vespa to San Sebastian.
Joe explained that the purpose of the trip was to raise awareness of the condition, and to encourage those who have it to keep active, as well as to raise money for Parkinson’s UK Cymru.
“I got diagnosed at the tail end of the pandemic and felt that my life had gone rubbish all of a sudden,” said Joe. “After a while you think of friends, family and things like that, you start wondering about your hobbies and mine happens to be motorcycles.
“I started looking into people diagnosed with Parkinson’s that were still riding motorcycles and there wasn’t a lot of information. So, I decided to use this bike trip as a platform to put it out there.
“When we set off it wasn’t just about raising the money, it was about raising awareness of Parkinson’s and the importance of early diagnosis and also about keeping your hobby going. Keeping up with your hobbies can definitely have a positive impact.
“When I am on my scooter, I am concentrating on the ride so that my brain isn’t thinking about other things and my arms stop shaking and everything seems to work well then.
“Retiring would probably be one of the worst things that I could do at this particular point in my life. I need to keep active. It’s about having incentives to do things. I’m not ready to retire yet.”
Photo above shows Joe Sarrionandia (far left) with Andrew Williams and Ian Thomas.
Further information, advice and support is available at www.parkinsons.org.uk.