Olympic medal winner Gail Emms opens gym for brain injured people


On Monday (18 January), badminton ace Gail Emms - who took home a silver Olympic medal in Athens in 2004 - will officially launch a brand new gym at Thorpe Hall in Peterborough, a centre for both Sue Ryder’s Hospice and Headway Cambridgeshire’s provision of services for brain injured people.


Making fitness available to those who have lost it through accidents and illness is vital too.

In our region about 20 people a day are admitted to local hospitals with brain injuries and after they have been discharged many of them need further rehabilitation. A well-equipped gym and specialist instruction are a vital part of this process.

Austin Willett, Chief Executive of Headway Cambridgeshire says: “It’s taken time and effort and quite a lot of fundraising to get us to this position, but I am delighted to say that in addition to the services we already provide at Thorpe Hall, such as Occupational Therapy and Life Skills,we can now add a state of the art gym which will help people to recover their strength and work on regaining their mobility following brain injury. We will share the space with Sue Ryder’s clients who will benefit greatly from it too.”

Helen McMenamin-Smith, a Headway Cambridgeshire client who has been using the gym at the charity’s other centre in Fulbourn says: “Before I started working at the gym under the guidance of a qualified instructor, I could barely walk to the end of my road. I have now got back both my physical fitness and my confidence.”

Gail Emms who, since retiring from badminton has taken on the role of Ambassador for the Youth Sport Trust, says: “I care passionately about encouraging people to be as active as they can be. I work a lot with young people to achieve this end and it seems to me that making fitness available to those who have lost it through accidents and illness is vital too. I am delighted to be opening this new facility and hope that over the months and years to come many people use this space as part of their journey towards rehabilitation.”

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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Local charity 'Improving life after brain injury'

Headway Cambridgeshire