Class gives amputees big confidence boost

KEEP FIT From left, Robert Oakes, Frank Hood and Wendy Hurst.   Picture: Sarah Standing (113291-4972)
KEEP FIT From left, Robert Oakes, Frank Hood and Wendy Hurst. Picture: Sarah Standing (113291-4972)

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LOSING a limb can be devastating. And for many people it would be easy to hide away. But a new exercise group in Waterlooville, aimed specifically at amputees, is working wonders.

The Body Focus Support Group has won a grant from the National Lottery to provide classes which strengthen muscles, improves balance and develops strength.

And with the improved fitness comes the confidence to face the world again.

Retired teacher Wendy Hurst, 72, from Park Road, Denmead, had her right leg amputated due to complications with diabetes.

She said: ‘I was rushed into hospital and the next thing I knew I was limbless.

‘It was a bit of a shock at first but I made a laugh out of it because I did not want the grandchildren to be frightened. We named my leg Stumpy and we all had hysterics over it and coped with it that way.

‘But you do lose your confidence and that is where the classes are brilliant. I was so scared about everything but this class has given me my confidence back. It’s fantastic.’

Bob Oakes, 74, from Harvest Road, Denmead, lost both his legs due to diabetes.

He said: ‘The classes have made me so much fitter but you must do them regularly.

‘My muscles feel solid. But it’s also the social aspect. After the class we will have a cup of tea and swap tips on how to do certain tasks.’

The classes are for amputees of any age.

Organiser Terri Bryant, who runs exercise classes for people recovering from illness, said that amputations can affect many people.

She said: ‘The classes improve balance and core strength and makes it easier for people to use their prosthetic limbs.

‘People have amputations for lots reasons, perhaps they are war veterans, they’ve been injured in accidents, or it may be through illness such as diabetes, meningitis or septicemia.’

The classes are every Thursday from midday to 1pm at Waterlooville Community Centre.

Sessions cost £3.50 per session and transport can be arranged at a small cost.

Call Mrs Bryant on 023 9224 1764 or 078 5484 8201.