Morton-on-Swale school launches £60,000 appeal to refurbish hydrotherapy pool

The Advertiser Series: Teaching assistants at the Dales School David Hoggett and Louise Baker with student Laura Taylor and the Hydro Duck. Teaching assistants at the Dales School David Hoggett and Louise Baker with student Laura Taylor and the Hydro Duck.

A £60,000 appeal has been launched to renew a facility that has proved crucial to the learning of students with severe and complex needs.

The Dales School at Morton-on-Swale near Northallerton provides specialist co-education to 50 students aged two to 19 from across the region.

For the past 27 years it has been the only facility - outside of the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough - to offer the community a hydrotherapy pool.

But now the pool is in desperate need of refurbishment and the Friends of The Dales School have launched a £60,000 appeal to restore it to its former glory.

Since the pool opened it has brought relief to countless students - many of who have undergone surgery or live with poor circulation.

Because it is much warmer than a traditional swimming pool, it has also helped many babies gain their first experience of the water.

Deputy headteacher Anne Baker said: “It has been used every single day and is in need of some urgent attention.”

Claire Turner, a senior physiotherapist who works with the pupils, added: “It is an incredible facility for rehabilitation and physiotherapy, especially for people who have limited mobility and is a way of experiencing freedom of movement and relaxation.”

To catch the public imagination the appeal is being driven by Hyrdo Duck, a toy mascot who is travelling the world raising the profile of the appeal.

It just missed out on a trip to Everest base camp, but has already been to London, Norway, Egypt, the Bahamas and New York.

Hydro Duck’s globetrotting progress and timeline is being charted on its own Facebook page - facebook.com/fods2014, blog and Twitter @FODS2014.

It is also hoped that supporters will upload videos of their fundraising efforts to YouTube.

More than £1,000 has already been raised and fundraisers hope to appeal to young and old, individuals, groups and corporate charity sources.

For more information on the appeal and how to help contact annebaker@thedalesschool.org or visit the website at www.thedalesschool.org.

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