Big brother's skydive to boost Bristol school's hydrotherapy pool appeal
A TEENAGER is set to take part in a sponsored skydive to help his brother and other children with cerebral palsy.
Tim Walker, of Brislington, knows that being able to use a hydrotherapy pool at his school will help his brother Liam exercise in a fun way.
So he decided to mark his 18th birthday with a skydive in support of the Starfish Appeal, which is raising £1 million for a hydrotherapy pool at Claremont Secondary School.
Currently pupils at the Redland special school have to travel to the primary school in Henleaze for hydrotherapy. The appeal has been set up to provide them with facilities on site with a bigger pool more suitable for the needs of the older children.
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Using a pool can help relieve pain and muscle spasms, increase the movement of joints, improve circulation and encourage independent standing and walking.
Tim and Liam's mother, Annie, said: "Liam is almost 12 and has regular physiotherapy but there is only a small pool at the junior school. They have to bus the kids over , which is time-consuming and means they lose the benefit of getting them in warm water.
"They are outgrowing the smaller pool and this new pool would benefit disabled children across the city.
"With the Paralympics going on at the moment, these could be the Paralympians of the future and it is the right time to get involved and get sponsoring. It is just fantastic exercise getting in the water. It is really good for them, especially if they are stuck in a wheelchair."
Liam is dependent on his wheelchair and spends most of his time sitting down so using the hydrotherapy gives him the chance to stretch out in a way he cannot usually.
"Liam can lie back and really stretches and relaxes when he is in the hydrotherapy pool," Mrs Walker said.
"And he can actually practise walking in the water because it supports his weight. It gives them a real sense of freedom they don't have while also getting fantastic exercise.
"It has to be warm water as that helps to relax the muscles."
Mrs Walker said the family hopes that one day with exercise and physiotherapy and regular hydrotherapy her son will be able to walk.
"Tim and Liam are quite different in their characters but they are very close and affectionate," she said.
"Tim has just turned 18 and for his birthday said he would really like to do a skydive so has decided to do it for charity. As parents and families we have been supporting the appeal in whatever ways we can and have come up with different ideas but this is the first skydive we have had."
Tim said: "Having the hydrotherapy pool would make my brother happy because he likes moving about in the water."
A fundraising page has been set up for Tim's skydive on Facebook.
To sponsor him or take part visit www.facebook.com/TimsWalkersSkyDive.
For more information on the appeal visit http://www.starfishpoolappeal.org.uk.