A SMALL PERSON WITH A BIG HEART
When the ICN first met Sue Wright at Highgrove swimming pool, she had just returned from Antarctica where she had been part of the crew sailing a tall ship for a month. Not quite what you’d expect from a petite grandmother with one leg!
Sue’s life changed six years ago when she was walking her dog along Harvil Road in Ickenham. A white van, whose driver claimed to have lost control, ran into her, causing multiple serious injuries to her head, pelvis, bowel and both legs. The damage to her left leg was so serious, she ultimately lost it. Although paralysed for six months, Sue made an astonishing recovery. She now walks with the aid of an electronic prosthesis and has set herself many challenges on the road to recovery.
One of these new challenges is scuba diving, but this has presented Sue with a new series of obstacles. Her electronic prosthesis, despite being costly, cannot be used under water. “At the moment, I have to swim with just one fin on my right leg and, because that leg was also damaged, I soon get tired”, said Sue. “What I need is a prosthesis for the left stump that will work a fin under water.”
Enter Nigel Ealand, her scuba instructor and close friend. “I searched extensively for a solution online but had to conclude that there is no commercially-available prosthesis suitable for the job”, he said. “So I approached Brunel University to see if their Engineering Department could come up with something. Fortunately, Professor Ibrahim Esat rose to the challenge and offered the project to his post- and under-graduate students.” So now there are five students working on the project, which will form part of their dissertation towards a degree. They’ve divided up the various parts of the mechanical leg between them and the visit to Highgrove was made to try out various aspects of what now looks to be a longer-term quest.
The prototype prosthesis is just a start and, as yet, too heavy to be practical. The students, who are working impressively together, will not have completed their project before graduation but it will be passed on to the next group of students. As Sue says, “I’d like it to benefit others besides me and it’s already presented a good learning challenge. But hopefully, the final product will help many other disabled people who’d like to swim and need this extra assistance”
WILL LEADS A BIKE RIDE FOR CHARITY
Will Cornwell, 14, counts himself lucky to play in defence for Ickenham Youth Football Club (IYFC) these days. For only last year he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphonia, a form of cancer which took him away from all normal activities, like school and his beloved football, for six months.
Thankfully, Will has now made a full recovery and is so grateful that he wants to raise money for The Claire Sadler Trust, an Ickenham-based charity which helps teenagers who are suffering from cancer. So, together with Ray McCafferty of IYFC and Mark Chapple and Natalie Cannon of Ickenham’s Bikewise cycle shop, he organized a charity bike ride around Ickenham.
On a lovely April day, 75 cyclists set out on a route designed by Natalie, which passed through Swakeleys Park and along the River Pinn. The contributions made by the cyclists, together with other contributions, raised an astonishing £1,200 for the trust! Well done Will!
For more information, and to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/clairesadlertrust