A new hydrotherapy pool has been officially opened following a successful fundraising appeal.
The family of former Sunderland goalkeeper Tim Carter inspired an appeal to help fund the construction of the £1million state-of-the-art pool at Percy Hedley School in Killingworth.
Tim’s wife Gina, daughter Sasha and son Jensen, a pupil at the school, were joined by Sunderland 1973 FA Cup winner Jimmy Montgomery and Paralympic swimming champion Josef Craig to open the pool officially last Thursday.
Carole Harder, chief executive at The Percy Hedley Foundation, said: “This is a momentous day for the Foundation and for disabled children and their families.
“It is one of the very few places in the country which offers families a purpose-built residential unit, access to outstanding education provision and a hydrotherapy pool. It will make such a difference to so many people.”
The facility will enable the charity to offer vital hydrotherapy, which provides invaluable benefits to disabled children and adults with cerebral palsy.
The neurological condition affects movement and coordination, but in warm water these restrictions are reduced, giving the chance for exercise, free movement and relaxation in a multi-sensory and fun environment.
Gina said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the Percy Hedley Hydrotherapy Pool.
“We are immensely proud of what has been achieved since the appeal began. It’s not just my family that has made this happen, a lot of people have been involved and we are extremely grateful to each and every single person that has supported and raised money.
“If you go for a run you have a warm bath to relieve your aches – that feeling is constant for children like Jensen so it is paramount they have access to hydrotherapy. I hope many children can benefit from using the pool.”
The construction of the hydrotherapy pool was supported by The Percy Hedley Foundation’s Splash Appeal and is part of a bigger £4m capital appeal that has also seen the construction of a new 26 bed children’s home.
Bradbury View, which is based next door to the hydrotherapy pool, will provide 52 week residential placements, essential short break and respite provision in a home from home environment for children and their families.