Splashdown for hospital’s new hydrotherapy pool

Lillia Reading, aged three, from Hackenthorpe in the Ryegate pool with physiotherapists Helen Hughes.
Lillia Reading, aged three, from Hackenthorpe in the Ryegate pool with physiotherapists Helen Hughes.

A £200,000 hydrotherapy pool, which will be used by hundreds of patients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, was unveiled this week after a successful fundraising campaign.

Money for a replacement for a 50-year-old pool at Ryegate Children’s Centre in Broomhill was raised through The Children’s Hospital Charity.

Paralympic gold medallist Oliver Hynd, aged 18, who was treated at the Children’s Hospital for bone growth abnormalities related to his Muscular Dystrophy, and won gold, silver and bronze medals in swimming at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, helped to perform the opening ceremony on Tuesday.

Oliver, from Kirkby in Ashfield, said: “The pool looks amazing and the kids are going to get so much out of it.”

With a much better design, it will be used to treat children with a range of disabilities, helping them to develop their skills, strengthen their bodies, or provide sensory treatment to improve their quality of life. It will also be used by children following serious accidents and by children with brain or spinal injuries.

Sheffield-based construction and retail developers Henry Boot Construction and Dransfield Properties Ltd worked together to lead the project, both contributing a considerable amount of time, money and expertise.

Jenny Featherstone, team leader for community physiotherapy and occupational therapy at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “From helping children with profound disabilities to move freely, through to overcoming fear of water in children with autism, the pool will be busy all the time. With the amazing rebuild, it will now

be easier to access the pool, easier to change children and a wonderful environment to enhance the work we do for some really special children.”

Patients Max Orbell, aged three, from Hackenthorpe, Luke Guy, aged two, from Halfway, Lillia Reading, aged three, from Hackenthorpe, took the first opportunity to try out the new pool.

Lillia was born with a rare condition called Muscular Myopathy – a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, and doctors feared she may never be able to walk.

With only two muscles in her leg instead of the normal 15, she has been treated at the Children’s Hospital from birth and has needed more than 13 operations to help her take her first steps. She has been going to Ryegate since she was aged one.

Her mum Katie, aged 31, said: “The staff at Ryegate are absolutely lovely and Lillia loves her time in the pool.

“Due to her condition Lillia has had stiffness with her joints and weakness in her muscles so the pool has been a great way for her to build up her strength in a fun, exciting way.”

Katie said the pool “looks so bright and inviting but at the same time it has a really calming feel to it. It’s just fantastic that people have come together to do this amazing thing and make such a difference to children like Lillia.”