PADDLING in the waves is an experience two care home residents in their 90s believed they would never have again.
Thanks to a charity in Whitby, however, Joyce Baxtrem and Betty Boyes, both 91, took their first toe dip in the sea in many years after borrowing specialised all-terrain wheelchairs.
The residents from Hazelgrove Court Care Home, on Randolph Street, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, took the trip down the coast after learning of the wheelchairs available via the Whitby, Scarborough, and Ryedale Disability Action Group (DAG).
After visiting Whitby Surf School to pick up the chairs, carers wheeled the two ladies down to the beach and into the shallows of the incoming waves.
Betty said: “I thought I would never see the sea again, let alone get in it.”
Joyce added: “It is great at 91 still to be able to have fun.
“It was lovely how many people came up to us to ask where we were from and say how much they had enjoyed watching us have fun in the sea.”
Fellow resident at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, Ellen Else, 94, also joined in the fun at the beach, enjoying a walk along the water’s edge and paddling in the sea.
Sharon Lewis, activities coordinator at the care home, said: “I’d seen beach wheelchairs on the internet a while ago and, when Joyce and Betty were talking about paddling in the sea when they were younger, I thought it would be great to see if we could organise that experience for them again.
“I did a bit of research and found the Disability Action Group in Whitby was the nearest and the rest was easy to arrange.
“It was a wonderful experience and great to be able to get residents not only on the beach but in the sea.”
Trish Kilburn, home manager, said: “When Betty, Joyce, and Ellen returned to Hazelgrove they were absolutely delighted with their outing.
“They couldn’t wait to tell their loved ones, staff members, and friends that they’d been to dip their feet in the sea.
“At Hazelgrove, we do everything we can to discover and then respond to what residents like and enjoy. It just goes to show that no matter your age or disability, you can still have fun doing what you enjoyed in your younger days. “
Judith Owen, office coordinator for Whitby, Scarborough & Ryedale DAG, said: “DAG is always glad to help visitors to Whitby beach have a blast and go on a proper adventure – so to hear this is exactly how the Hazelgrove residents feel is just wonderful.
“We’ve had really positive feedback from people who haven’t been able to get on to a beach for many years, from people who have never been on a beach or been able to paddle in the sea, from people reviving or creating memories, and from families who would have otherwise had to leave one of their group at home or stuck up on the beach wall.
“It can be a very emotional experience for everyone, and it means an awful lot to us to know that something we have done, or helped to happen, has made such a difference.”