Simon Weston says 60th birthday gift of Triumph trike is dream come true

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Veterans’ campaigner and Falkland War survivor Simon Weston has been presented with an extra-special gift to mark his 60th birthday in the shape of a Triumph trike.

The gift was the result of a crowd-funding campaign which had its roots in a chance conversation at a presentation given by Simon two years ago.

Simon revealed to former Meriden Triumph engineer and world speed record holder Norman Hyde that he would really love a trike like the one ridden by Billy Connolly on his TV travel series.

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It spurred Norman into action and he decided to embark on a mission to fulfil Simon’s dream.

He said: “Knowing what Simon had given to our country and knowing what good people there are in the bike world, from manufacturers and importers, through dealers to clubs and riders, I immediately said ‘leave it to me, I’ll fix it’.”

Norman organised crowdfunding and the £25,000 project got off to a fabulous start when Triumph Motorcycles, which is based in Hinckley, donated a new 1,200cc Bonneville for conversion.

Trike Design of Caerphilly South Wales (coincidentally Simon’s home town) was chosen to convert the two-wheeler and adapt controls for Simon, who has fingers missing from both hands.

Norman Hyde (left) presents the ignition key to Simon Weston. On the right is Hank Hancock of Trike Design. Image: Tony Smith
Norman Hyde (left) presents the ignition key to Simon Weston. On the right is Hank Hancock of Trike Design. Image: Tony Smith

“This is a dream come true,” said Simon of the crowdfunded Triumph trike, which was presented to him a few days before his 60th birthday.

“I can’t thank Norman Hyde and all the people who made this happen enough.”

Donations ranging from £5 to four-figure sums came from individuals and the trade, often accompanied by messages of affection for Simon.

The Triumph Owners MCC (TOMCC) made a substantial contribution as did the Duke of Richmond (the Goodwood Estate) and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), which is based in Coventry.

Simon Weston on his new Triumph trike. Image: Tony Smith
Simon Weston on his new Triumph trike. Image: Tony Smith

Simon’s helmet was donated by LS2 and the Held clothing company are making bespoke gloves.

Hank Hancock of Trike Design (TD), specialists in three-wheeler conversions and adaptation for disabled riders, took on the job with enthusiasm.

The Triumph is fitted with TD’s latest Brookland Sport design, with boot space inside the smooth GRP mouldings.

The 17-inch wheels have independent suspension with an anti-roll bar and the final transmission from the chain to twin shafts is via a differential.

Trike Design’s Robin Davies designed and fitted the specially adapted controls.

Kliktronic press-button electric gear shifting means that Simon can change up with a finger on his right hand and down with his left thumb.

Foot pedals for the throttle, brakes and clutch are similarly arranged to car controls.

“I soon worked out how to ride, and especially how to stop,” said Simon, who hopes to persuade his wife Lucy to travel on the pillion seat.

The presentation was held on Trike Design’s forecourt.

Those in attendance included several representing the TOMCC, including club chairman Ken Talbot and members who rode in from Shropshire, Max Roberts of Triumph Motorcycles, Dave Priddle of LS2 helmets and two motorcycle-mounted officers from the national police-run initiative BikeSafe; PC Richard Gibbs and PC Paul Rees.

Simon signed up for the British Army at 15. Aged 20, when serving in the Welsh Guards, he was aboard the logistics ship RFA Sir Galahad – laden with fuels and ammunition – when it was bombed by the Argentine Air Force during the conflict in the South Atlantic.

He suffered horrific injuries and underwent prolonged reconstructive surgery.

At times Simon said he was close to giving in, but courage and determination saw him emerge positively as a strong advocate for troops’ and veterans’ rights.

Along with his many charitable activities he gives inspirational talks on achieving mental wellness. Awarded the OBE in 1992, Simon was made a CBE in 2016.

Triumph Motorcycles

Triumph Motorcycles has historic connections to Coventry.

Triumph, in its many guises, was born out of a company founded by Siegfried Bettmann, who had emigrated from Nuremberg, in 1884.

It went on to make bicycles before moving on to motorcycles and later cars.

The motorcycle making side of the business was originally based in Coventry and subsequently in Meriden.

A new company, Triumph Motorcycles, based in Hinckley, gained the name rights of the company in the 1980s and is now one of the world’s major motorcycle manufacturers.

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