A derelict aircraft hangar with an interesting history has been demolished to make way for a unique rehabilitation centre for people who have suffered catastrophic injuries playing sport.
The hangar, on the Burrough Court Estate, once housed the plane which British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain commissioned to fly him to Germany to visit Adolf Hitler in his appeasement talks prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.
The site has been acquired by the Matt Hampson Foundation to build the Get Busy Living centre, which will be the centrepiece of the charity’s drive to improve the care of those coping with life-changing injuries.
After workmen had demolished the hangar in 20 minutes and cleared the site in a couple of hours, the foundation’s chief executive officer Tommy Cawston said: “It was good to finally see the hangar come down so we can get on with building the centre.
“Everything has moved so fast - we just didn’t think it would all happen so quickly.
“We hope to be able to open the centre by the end of the year.”
The facility is the brainchild of Matt Hampson, a former Leicester Tigers and England Under-21 rugby player who was paralysed in an international training session in 2005.
Not only will visitors be able to use state-of-the-art equipment to aid their rehabilitation but the centre will give them the chance to mix with others in the same position, to share experiences and ideas.
Tommy said: “The centre is pretty unique because we are bringing people together with these life-changing injuries and giving them the opportunity to interact and learn from each other.”
There is already widespread interest in the centre and the foundation is preparing to be extremely busy when it opens.
“We get requests for help on a daily basis,” said Tommy.
“Where the centre will be located is in the middle of the country close to major cities and it is very accessible by road.
“We expect it to be used a lot.”
A number of local firms are offering their time, services, materials and expertise for free to get the project off the ground.
And the foundation is keen to source more help to assist in the building of the centre.
Tommy added: “We are looking for support from people in the building trade and those who can supply equipment and fundraising for us.
“We have to make sure the centre is around for years.”
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