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Olympic silver medallist Gail Emms opened the new Thorpe Hall Hospice and Headway Cambridgeshire gym – by jumping on an exercise bike.

Badminton player Gail spent time with staff, volunteers and gym users from both organisations as she marked the official launch of the new facility in Thorpe Hall’s West Wing.

She said: “I trained all my life just to play badminton and I lived in a bubble with all this support and help. Being able to raise awareness of this kind of facility is about me stepping back into real life. The effort, time, patience, empty and support that goes into making these facilities work for people is just – wow!

“Seeing people set themselves personal goals and then seeing the pride they feel when they achieve them is just brilliant.”

A range of equipment is available in the specialist gym housed in the refurbished West Wing of Thorpe Hall. Trained instructors from Headway will be on hand to provide help, advice and guidance and to create tailor-made plans for clients.

Around 20 people a day are admitted to hospitals in the region with brain injuries. Many of those need ongoing rehabilitation like that provided by Headway, and a well-equipped gym and specialist instruction are a vital part of this process.

Gentle exercise can be equally beneficial for hospice patients and people with long term conditions who use Thorpe Hall’s day service centre.

Paul Scotney is a regular user of the gym. He said: “Being able to exercise regularly is a big help with improving coordination and strength – it’s about rehabilitation. It’s a safe environment where we can get the help and guidance we need. And Dan the instructor is a big bloke so there’s no saying no to him!”

Thorpe Hall Hospice director Jane Petit said: “The gym is a very welcome addition to the facilities we have available here at Thorpe Hall Hospice, for the use of our patients and Headway’s clients. Both organisations focus on providing very individual care and support and the gym equipment allows our teams to target exercises and physiotherapy sessions to each person.

“As we work with more people out in the community over the coming months the gym will be another service we can offer as part of our ongoing care and support.”


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