Since being called to The Bar and becoming a member of the Middle Temple, Rebecca has worked in financial services regulation and enforcement for over 14 years with a recent move to the general council and policy work. Rebecca explains: “I’ve been looking for a new powerchair for over three years as my current model is on borrowed time. When you sit in a wheelchair for 17-18 hours at a time you don’t want it to look rubbish. The WHILL is different, it is stylish, I am really enjoying my ownership experience.”
“The main challenge for me living in central London is other people and being able to adjust to their movement. I live just off Trafalgar Square so there are lots of tourists and with a tube station at either end of my street there are thousands of people walking through. The nearby ‘Boris bike’ hire is busy with people coming and going so I need to be able to turn and stop sharply to avoid people. Pedestrians tend to move randomly and commonly stop in the middle of the road. You can plan for kerbs but you can’t plan for people. Now driving the WHILL I can easily weave around people and stop, turn and corner precisely and safely.
“I have been using the WHILL to go to work on the Underground. It takes me 10-minutes to get to Westminster tube station where I join the Jubilee line and get off at Canary Wharf. This section of the line is fully accessible with plenty of lifts. On arrival I simply drive through the shopping mall and into the lift to the 26th floor where my office is in the main tower. At work I have the ability to get under desks with the seat slide so hot desking is not a problem, negotiating the office is hassle-free too.”
“WHILL is smooth and easy to control and has a good speed. It is really easy to get over kerbs even though there is no kerb climber mechanism which normally get in the way of your feet. WHILL can go up a 3-inch kerb in a straightforward manner. I use it every day. I use it to go to work, the shops, the cinema, to go everywhere. It is really different because there are no castors. I often find that if you are wearing trousers or a long dress, they can get trapped by castors so it is really quite useful to drive without worrying about that sort of thing. WHILL is really comfortable to sit in as it has a cushioned back.
The three major features for me are the different controller, the easy lift arm rests and the powered seat slide. You can just rest you palm on the computer mouse style controller which require minimal pressure to move and the arm rests are a lot lighter than other powerchairs. The seat slide means I can get under a desk at work sit in a restaurant more comfortably which is a really useful tool. Having a choice in back rests is beneficial as your back can be supported appropriately, I have the high back rest.”
Rebecca concludes by summarising her plans for the coming weeks: “I have definitely got a couple of theatre trips coming up so it will be good to see how the WHILL squeezes into a small auditorium in the dark. I have a friend coming to stay so we’ll probably go down to Greenwich and around the Cutty Sark either using the ferry from nearby embankment or I’ll try the DLR. I eat out quite regularly so I have a few dinners booked and I might go to Paris with my WHILL for the day on the Eurostar. I feel confident in WHILL and would recommend it to everyone looking for a powered wheelchair, it has a lot of substance and style.”