Captain Tom Moore’s Walking Aid is an ‘X Fold’ Rollator

Captain Tom Moore’s Walking Aid is an ‘X Fold’ Rollator

Essential Aids joins the world in congratulating Captain Tom Moore for his remarkable effort in raising tens of millions of pounds for the NHS. Now promoted to a colonel and having marked his 100th birthday in April 2020, he has become a national hero while society is in the grip of the coronavirus crisis.

Beyond the UK, people across the globe have rushed to pay tribute to his efforts, walking up and down his garden with the help of his ‘X Fold’ rollator.

Fundraising walk for the NHS

Captain Moore’s fundraising efforts were for the NHS Charities Together, a group which supports volunteers, patients and staff within the health service. With his 100th birthday approaching and in the midst of the 2020 pandemic, he initially undertook the task of completing 100, 25-metre laps of his back garden, with the aid of his rollator walker.

With a relatively modest target of raising £1,000 already achieved by 10 April, national and global interest and appreciation was sparked, leading to a rapid increase in the target to £500,000. That achieved in a matter of days, rather than resting on his laurels, he then pledged to do another 100 laps and raise even more money for the charity.

As more money poured in as publicity for Captain Moore’s exploits echoed around the world, by the time he reached his 100th birthday on 30 April he had raised a remarkable £30 million via his Justgiving page. Over 1.5 million people donated to the cause. This was a record for a JustGiving campaign, surpassing the old mark of £5.2 million.

Receiving over 150,000 birthday cards from a now-adoring public, he was made an honorary colonel by the Army Foundation College.

Captain Moore’s background

Moore served in the army in the 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment. On his 100th birthday, he received a guard of honour from the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, into which the Duke of Wellington's division had merged.

Moore was selected for officer training in 1940, having enlisted for the DWR at the start of World War II. In June 1941 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant, in the same year going on to become part of the Royal Armoured Corps.

Subsequently posted in India as part of the 9th Battalion, he took part in the Battle of Ramree Island and was promoted to temporary captain in 1944. He rose to the rank of permanent Captain after going on to serve in Burma and Sumatra following the atomic bombings and Japanese surrender.

On returning to England, he became an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Dorset.

Captain Moore was awarded four medals for his service in the war: The 1939-1945 Star, the Burma Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal. The Defence Medal was reissued to him in April 2020 after his fundraising exploits.

Number one hit record

As part of Captain Moore’s 100th birthday celebrations, singer Michael Ball sang a rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ on BBC breakfast TV. Decca Records then released as a digital single, featuring Captain Moore’s spoken words and the NHS Voices of Care Choir. The single raced to the top of the UK top 40 charts, selling nearly 36,000 copies in two days.

It entered the charts in the number one position on 24 April, making him easily the oldest person ever to have a number one record in the UK.

Walking aids like the one used by Captain Tom Moore

The Drive X Fold rollator walker is a high quality walking aid. While many people live with reduced mobility in later life, specialist equipment can make a big difference, reducing the impact of physical restrictions.

In Captain’s Moore’s case, he has had a hip replacement and two knee replacements, as well as suffering broken bones from a fall in 2018. Many people following these types of incidences need equipment to help them get around. Some opt for mobility scooters, which are available in various sizes, some of which are suitable for road use, others for pavements.

Other people manage with smaller mobility aids, like Captain Moore’s rollator walker, conventional walking frames or simply walking sticks. Rollators are becoming ever more popular and are familiar sights on the United Kingdom’s streets.

The particular model used by Captain Moore, the X Fold, is primarily designed for use outdoors. It has an aluminium frame, which means it is lightweight and easy to carry and store. It also means it’s not prone to rust, as some of the heavier steel frame models can be.

The X Fold rollator has large wheels, eight inches in diameter, so it is adept at dealing with kerbs and all the lumps and bumps commonly encountered when negotiating UK pavements and crossing roads.

The front wheels of this wheeled walker have two settings - swivelling or fixed - each of which affects behaviour of its steering. The swivelling setting dramatically improves the maneuverability, while the fixed setting makes the rollator more stable.

It also has wide handled loop brakes, which makes it ideal for those with arthritic or weak hands. The design does not require a great deal of pressure to engage the brakes. The wide levers do not dig into the hands, in the way some bicycle levers are prone to.

Another feature of the X Fold wheeled walking aid is the flexible seat and backrest. Both of these are very lightweight and collapse down as part of the overall unit as required. Captain Moore has given several television interviews while using the rollator as a seat.

The folding mechanism is one of the features which stand out on this particular model. It makes it very easy to both transport in a car boot or on the bus. It also means it collapses down efficiently for storage.

A removable canvas bag comes as standard, providing a useful portable storage facility for trips to the shops. Light reflectors in various places are an extra safety feature should you need to use the rollator in the dark.

The X Fold is just one of many rollators in the Essential Aids range. Specialists in the field for over 15 years, Essential Aids is the leading supplier of this type of mobility equipment to the general public in the UK.

Rollators range in design and price, with some of the cheaper models made from steel, which is heavier, to the more expensive ones which usually have aluminium frames.

An alternative to the X Fold model is the Days 252 Light Rollator. This has a similar silver finish, but the seat and backrest are of the more solid variety. Where the X Fold’s features have been designed to keep down weight and to fold up with the minimum of fuss, some people prefer the solid feel seat and backrest.

Another advantage of the Days 252 is that it features a carry basket under the seat, which flips upwards in order to provide access. Compared to the X-fold, this model looks more like a conventional rollator.

But the X fold is not alone in its modern looks, representing a small but noticeable change from traditional designs. Another with innovative styling is the Let’s Go Out Rollator. This model comes with all the usual equipment like brakes, a backrest and a seat, but it has larger wheels and frame geometry which makes it stand out from the crowd.

The fold-up mechanism is similar to the X fold, with the two handles coming together in order to collapse it. Another thing that the two have in common is the flexible backrest and seat, necessary to make the folding system work effectively. Like the X Fold, it has a detachable bag, as opposed to the rigid wire basket of the Days 252.

Zing up your rollator

Essential Aids supplies a popular product which lets you personalise your walking aid. The ‘Rollator Makeover Set’ comes with a cover for the seat and the backrest and is available in various colours and designs.

With the animal and patterned finishes among the most chosen, this item really livens up your mobility aid and gives it that personal touch. We also supply decoration kits for mobility scooters and wheelchairs.

Indoor walking frames

While Captain Moore’s X Fold rollator is primarily for use outside the home, there are a range of similar items suitable for use indoors. Essentialaids.com does a range of lightweight walking frames, some of which are available with front wheels. All made from aluminium, they are great if hallway space is tight.

Three-wheeled rollators are also of use indoors. These models are less stable than their larger four-wheeled counterparts, but can be considerably more manoeuvrable and lighter in weight.

They also have a narrower profile, so fit into gaps which four wheelers may struggle with. Many people who use rollators will often have one for use in the house and a second model for trips outside.

It is important for anyone facing mobility issues to be fully aware of the equipment available to them online. Rollator walkers, mobility scooters and thousands of smaller aids are making a difference to people’s lives across the UK.

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Sally Madeley-Carr, OT

Sally Madeley-Carr, OT

Sally qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1996 and is a well-respected professional in the field of rehabilitation equipment and living aids. She has worked in private practice and within the NHS, developing a broad experience with adults and children. Click here for Sally's registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. The HCPC regulates health, physchological and social work professionals in the UK.

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