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Read about one of our customer's experiences

What gets us up in the morning is down to who we are, what we need, and what motivates us. We all need a little inspiration, mine was my Dad, but you also need determination.

My name is Peter Downie, I have just swum over 50 lengths at New Milton Health and Leisure and I feel invigorated! I am in my late 50's, I work as a Certified Accountant, I'm a total petrol head, and swimming is my preferred exercise. I've used the gym in the past but swimming is more social, and for me, more fun.

I have been left disabled since my third operation on a spinal tumour, and since my fifth operation in 2005 I have become a permanent wheelchair user. Not the end of the world, but an introduction to a whole new world where what I used to take for granted has now gone forever. I always liked a challenge, but now life is a constant challenge with so many obstacles placed in my way. I need to exercise every day as parts of my body have a nasty habit of not doing what I want them to do! Without regular exercise my legs would rapidly turn into limp useless add ons. With exercise I can walk a few yards (using a frame or a rollator), but more importantly, I can stand (whilst leaning on a wall) for long enough to pull my trousers up!

I swim mainly at New Milton leisure centre, but I also use the pool at Lymington from time to time. At New Milton there are two dedicated disabled changing rooms and although not perfect, they do provide the facilities I need, and are just about right for most disabled people to use. Small things can make huge differences as to how the facilities work.

I first used the centre in 1998, and have been a regular (twice a week generally) user since my life altering operation in 2005.

Rob (the centre manager) and the staff are great, really helpful, and Rob has personally altered and added some items in the changing facilities in order to better suit a disabled user. The centre also has a fantastic seat hoist, which I have needed to use when I had injured myself due to a couple of falls. This hoist opens up the facilities to even more seriously disabled persons.

Peter Downie

Updated: 10 Mar 2015
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