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People of the Year Charity

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: December 27, 2012

  • Trustees of Harry's Hydro, Giles Vallis, Digby Fox, chairwoman Paula Fox, Peter Bennett and Tony Perry

  • From left, councillor Val Horler, a member of the Coleford Youth Club Management Committee, councillor Philip Ham, chairman of Coleford Parish Council, Mendip YMCA volunteer Michael Boniface, and chief executive of Mendip YMCA Karen Deverell

  • Vicki Ross, right, shaved her head to raise awareness and funds for the Openstorytellers charity, she works for. She is pictured with project manager Jane Harwood and trustee and storyteller Brian Marshall

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Winner: Harry's Hydro

After 12 years of hard struggle a £300,000 hydrotherapy pool built in memory of a little boy will be officially opened in the New Year.

Harry's Hydro was begun by Frome parents Paula and Digby Fox following the death of their baby son Harry. Harry suffered profound brain damage after he contracted an infection at four days old.

The Foxs discovered that Harry was at his more content when he was surrounded by warm water in a specially heated pool, which offered hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and multi-sensory.

Following Harry's death, the couple were determined that the community of Frome should benefit from a facility that had made such a difference to Harry.

The pool is a community facility available to local groups, as well as serving the special needs of children at the school.

Runner-up: Mendip YMCA

Community, sports and special interest clubs from across Frome were salvaged for homelessness thanks to Mendip YMCA.

Budget cuts at Somerset County Council meant the centre was in danger of imminent closure but in September it was revealed the YMCA, which has a base in Bath Street, had signed a two-year lease on the building.

The news meant hundreds of people involved in groups that met at the Vallis Road centre such as netball, karate, judo, majorettes, a radio-controlled car club, bikes and polo could look forward to a more secure future.

The youth club at Coleford was also saved by the Mendip YMCA with the help of Mendip district councillors Philip Ham and Valerie Horler when it was also threatened with closure by the county council.

Runner-up: Openstorytellers

The charity that supports people with learning difficulties get their voice heard, has gone from strength to strength this year.

They moved into new offices in the Black Swan and their chairman of trustees, Brian Marshall, was nominated for an award in the Heart of Somerset Awards.

The charity not only supports people in Frome, it also has links to Wiltshire and was also lucky enough to enjoy a visit from Taffy Thomas MBE, First Laureate for Storytelling, who visited the group in November.

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  • rickarn2282  |  December 28 2012, 8:06PM

    What an inspiration! It makes me happy to see people give back after hardship. I know Endless Pools provide some incredible hydrotherapy in their pools http://tinyurl.com/cnnww27 which can be a real difference maker for those in need of an aquatic therapy environment.

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