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Beach Wheelchairs Help Elderly Access Childhood Seaside Memories

A RISING tide of memories came flooding back to elderly care home residents from Hartlepool when they took a stroll along the sandy shores of Seaton Carew.

The sound of waves lapping at their feet and the feel of sea air on their faces had Ada “Molly” Grey, 95, Iris Harker, 96, and Bernard “Bernie” Bell, 86, reminiscing about their childhoods.

The residents, from Queens Meadow Care Home, on Stockton Road, recalled paddling in the shallows and collecting sea coal during their younger years.

Iris said: “I remember coming down to the sands to collect coal for my mam so that she could put it on the fire at home. The sea coal was free you see.”

The residents were taken to the coast for the day by staff after they discovered charity Beach Access North East.

The care home’s activities coordinator, Shauna Whelan, was talking to residents about the headland, reminiscing about seaside trips in their younger years, when the group said they would like to visit the coast.

Shauna did some research on wheelchair accessible beaches and discovered the all-terrain wheelchairs at Seaton Carew – which have oversized wheels to enable them to roll across the sand without getting stuck.

After a stroll alongside the shoreline, the group returned to the promenade for coffee and scones in the sunshine.

Shauna said: “Bernie was talking about paddling in the sea when he was younger. The beach wheelchairs gave us the opportunity to take residents right into the water if they wanted to.

“Thank you to Beach Access North East for hiring the sand friendly wheelchairs. It was amazing experience for the residents to be able to see our amazing coast again.

“Even though the weather was misty, it was still an overwhelming, perfect day. Iris, Molly and Bernie told everyone about the great time they had so we’re busy planning our next outing to the seaside with a different group of residents.”

 

 
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