Sidmouth physio Anita celebrates fundraising success

PUBLISHED: 13:49 03 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:36 18 June 2010

A SIDMOUTH physiotherapist was this week celebrating achieving a £3,000 fundraising dream that is making a difference to the rehabilitation of patients in the town already.

A SIDMOUTH physiotherapist was this week celebrating achieving a £3,000 fundraising dream that is making a difference to the rehabilitation of patients in the town already.

Anita Sweetman, who works in the Sidmouth Victoria, has spent the past year bidding to bag a state-of-the art exercise bike for her physiotherapy unit.

Last October Anita, 29, of Peaslands Road, took on the gruelling 26 mile Dartmoor Vale marathon, raising around £400, and her long haul bid finally came to fruition this month with the help of the Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Comforts Fund.

Inspired by Anita's passion, fund members agreed to stump up the remainder of the cash to provide the town with a "Rolls Royce" piece of equipment.

The £3,000 bike has replaced its "dinosaur" predecessor and is already making a big difference in the rehabilitation of amputees, sports stars and elderly operation patients in the town according to Anita.

She said: "I was absolutely overjoyed. I was really happy that I was able to achieve what I set out to do.

"Patients wouldn't be able to get on the old bike. This is a lot of money but when you look at the benefits it gives people it worth every penny.

"We have 80 year-olds who are unable to walk but can cycle. It may only be for six minutes but it boosts their confidence so much. There is a psychological benefit as well as physical.

"It was completely my idea to get it. I've worked in other departments with bikes like this and just felt we did have the patients who would benefit from it.

"Even if it (her fundraising) meant carrying on and might have taken a few years, I was willing to do that. Luckily I wrote a letter to the Comforts Fund and because it is so supportive to the hospital and local people, they were quite happy to help when they realised how much everyone would benefit from it.

"It just attaches me to Sidmouth and makes you feel proud of doing something for the community you live in. I hope it inspires people to do the same."

Comforts Fund chairman Graham Vincent was full of praise for Anita and said: "She is so passionate about the unit and has been moving this forward the best she can. She came to us and said they really needed it- it's a wonderful piece of equipment.

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