I am going to take you all down memory lane. Hopefully, some of the images and my descriptions will raise a smile, which is often needed in January!

I realised some time ago that I had always been fascinated by motorcycles and scooters. Obviously, everyone’s two-wheeler experiences start on their first bicycle or push bike, with or without the stabilisers. 

My first motorised two-wheeler experience was about 1966. I had gone to what was then Woolsington Airport, where the Aeroclub now is in the corner of Newcastle Airport, to see off a plane-load of people who were going to Lourdes. My dad had taken me up on the bus. The young curate of our local Church had a scooter – I don’t remember if it was a Lambretta or a Vespa, but it was the classic shape. We missed the bus going back to Newcastle, so the priest suggested that we all got on his scooter, and he would catch the bus up. My dad said “obviously I’ll sit on the back seat, but where will Mark go?”, and the priest suggested I stood in the footwell and put my hands inside the handlebar grips. We agreed, and off we went. I can remember that the thrill of the scooter accelerating, and we did catch that bus. I can remember the priest shouting above the noise that the three people on the scooter were the “Father, Son and Holy Ghost”! None of us had helmets on, as it wasn’t compulsory in those days! Wow.

My first experience of riding a bike myself was when I was 14 years old. Our family took my friend on holiday to a caravan site in Hauxley in Northumberland, and one of his school friends was also there. His dad had a business and had bought his son a brand-new Honda ST70 monkey bike in white with a fetching stripe on it. It was a clutch less, three-gear change and we spent the full week going up and down the tracks, one at a time, solo on the bike beside the dunes. No helmets again, and it wasn’t dropped (much). Four years later, a lads’ week in Corsica riding 50cc pedal start mobylettes followed!

I took formal lessons when I was 19, under the Star Rider Scheme, on Fenham Barracks (now a BMW car sales room in Newcastle), on a Suzuki BL100P (Bloop). I was loaned a Honda CB125 and passed my test at Kenton Bar. An examiner on foot watched me at the corner of various roads in the Kenton Bar estate, jumping out and putting his hand out for an emergency stop! At one stage, an Alsatian dog tried to attack my right leg until I gave it a sharp prod with my right foot. The examiner said “good work with your boot”! I passed.

My first real bike that I owned was a Honda CD175 (see photo) which was marvellous. I couldn’t afford the twin Carburettor CB175 version! The best-selling classic bike magazine nationally has pictures of bikers with their first bike. Send me yours in with you tales. I wonder if anyone can top my ‘two and a half men on a bike’ story? Although we couldn’t find an image of two men and a boy on a scooter, I thought you might like to see a photograph that I took at home of a placemat, which is the closest equivalent, of two unhelmeted obviously Italian priests, on a Lambretta scooting through the Italian countryside. It’s great being on two wheels!

Mark Hipkin is a Partner/ Head of the Personal Injury and Civil Litigation department. He welcomes your e-mails or calls on the law (or your biking experiences) at wbay@aldersonlaw.co.uk or call 0191 2533509.

Mary was born and has lived all her life in the North East of England. Her first interest was science and she originally studied Biomedical Science at Northumbria and worked in the scientific research field and the NHS, before studying part time, again at Northumbria University, to obtain her degree in Law. Since then she has enjoyed a varied career covering many different areas of law, before specialising in Children Law, which she has done almost exclusively for the past 5 years.

Mary loves reading and history and at a weekend can often be found at one of the many historical sites the North East has to offer and has even been known to play video games when she can find the time.

Chris was originally a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives from 1997 and qualified as a Solicitor in 2001.

He has over 25 years experience in private client work comprising Wills, Trusts, Probate, Powers of Attorney and other Court of Protection Work such as Deputyship applications. Chris has been a Partner in several firms in the North East, being Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate.

He brings a wealth of experience to his role and works closely with clients, providing them with a service tailored to their needs

Susan was born and bred in the North East, spending all of her working life in Blyth. She qualified in 1981 and, after some years at Alderson Law, began to specialise in family law, covering both private and legal aid. Susan was a member of the Law Society Family Panel and an accredited Resolution specialist, specialising particularly in private children law and domestic violence.

Susan took part-retirement in December 2018 but still works as a Solicitor here at Alderson Law. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, walking, reading, and spending time with her family. She has also been a Brownie leader for over 40 years.

Originally from East Yorkshire, Jasmine moved to the North East in 2012 to study at Northumbria University undertaking the M Law Exempting (BPTC) course (the only undergraduate course in England and Wales which incorporates the Bar Professional Training Course), graduating in 2016 with a First Class Honours and a Very Competent in the Bar Professional Training Course. Prior to joining Alderson Law Jasmine specialised in RTA Fraud in a Personal Injury firm, before moving to another firm to work as a Family Law Paralegal.

In 2018 she joined our team as a Family Law Paralegal and before qualifying as a Solicitor within the Family Law Department based at our Morpeth office. Jasmine represents clients in a wide range of matters including; divorce and matrimonial finance, disputes regarding the arrangements for children as well as parents who are subject to Local Authority involvement both before and during Court proceedings.

In her spare time Jasmine likes visiting the beach, going to the gym, watching live music and looking after her pet rabbit.

Julie is a highly experienced property solicitor. She studied Law at Northumbria University and, after qualifying in 2000, went on to work at national and international firms prior to joining the team at Alderson Law in 2017. She works alongside her clients, advising on residential and commercial property development, property investment, portfolio management, property finance, landlord and tenant, easements and restrictive covenants.

Fiona is a specialist private client lawyer providing advice and assistance with wills, trusts, tax planning, probate & estate administration, lasting powers of attorney, court of protection and elderly client work. Having previously worked with a number of Newcastle-based firms listed in The Legal 500, Fiona brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She is a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), the association for specialists in family inheritance and succession planning.

Fiona grew up in Northern Ireland and studied law at Durham University, and has remained in the North East ever since. She enjoys spending time with her family at their cottage in Northumberland.

Mark Hipkin, partner at Alderson Law LLP, has been advising businesses and claimants since he qualified as a solicitor in 1982.

Mark’s passion is for representing claimants on two wheels in complex, serious and catastrophic motorcycle, scooter and cycle injuries, but he also has extensive experience of acting for claimants in many other personal injury areas including occupiers and public liability work and accidents at work. He specialises in challenging and complex cases. Mark always puts the client first, looking from the first day of instruction to obtain the best and fairest outcome for a claimant, no matter how long a case may take. He is a fan of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and early neutral valuation as alternatives to litigation. Sometimes, however, litigation is the best option, together with the necessary drive to see every matter through to a fair conclusion.

Mark also, having started his own business, advises business clients, often with motorcycle-, scooter- or cycle-related businesses and also deals with complex commercial disputes, professional negligence cases, and general civil litigation.

Mark likes to spend what free time he has with his family and practising Tai Chi and Tang Soo Do (Korean Karate – in which he is a second Dan).

Having worked in family law for over 25 years, Julie is a highly accomplished specialist in her field. She has a vast body of experience in dealing with family law, from divorce and related financial issues to complex child-related cases. Julie was the first person in North Tyneside to achieve the status of an accredited advanced family law specialist, and is a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, which demonstrates her experience in complex contested family cases and other subject-specific matters.

Though multi-talented and highly experienced, Julie’s particular speciality is in complex ancillary relief (financial settlement) claims and complex residence and contact disputes.

In her spare time Julie enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family and three grandchildren. She attends clients at our Whitley Bay and Blyth offices.

Tracey is one of our Partners and qualified as a solicitor in 1997. Throughout her career she has had a varied caseload undertaking matters in most areas of civil and private client law. Tracey can assist clients in a wide range of matters including: Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Debt Recovery, Residential and Commercial Conveyancing as well as Licensing and Landlord and Tenant matters.

Tracey is one of our most senior practitioners with over 20 years of local experience, having graduated from both Newcastle University and Northumbria University. When not in the office she enjoys walking, cycling, and cooking with her family.