A man who credits a Moray hydrotherapy pool with restoring his ability to walk is appealing for councillors to reconsider a decision to cease its funding.
Last week, the local council’s children and young people’s services committee refused to continue to fund Moray Hydrotherapy Pool in Forres, after providing it with £20,000 for its first three years.
But Knockando resident Andy Younie, 47, says the pool helped him get back on his feet after doctors told him he would never walk again.
He said: “The benefits I have noticed personally since starting with the hydrotherapy pool are immense.
“When I started I couldn’t even stand in the water, and I had no balance.
“It’s been a long road but now I can walk just using one crutch.
“If that place shuts I have got nothing else, there’s nowhere else I can go to in this area.”
Mr Younie suffered from paralysing stroke-like symptoms after a bout of Lyme Disease in 2010. After a nine week stay in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, was told he would never walk again.
Mr Younie, who rears Highland cattle, learned the illness may have been triggered when one of the animals struck him on the head with its horn.
Before being forced into retirement on medical grounds, he worked at Cragganmore distillery.
By attaching floats to his legs in the hydrotherapy pool, Mr Younie has slowly built up strength in his damaged lower limbs.
He said: “I suffered from weakness on my right side, everything down that side went.
“But in the last three years or so I have gone from a wheelchair to crutches and I know the pool has been a great help in achieving that.”
Last week, councillors were told the pool is running at an annual loss of £41,000,
Forres councillor George Alexander said: “If we refuse funding then the committee will have to do something themselves to raise the funds, as was our original agreement.
“It’s like parenting – sometimes you just have to say no even if it hurts you inside doing it.”
Yesterday, Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant pledged to write to the chief executive of Moray Council, Roddy Burns, to ask that funding be continued.
She said “Many people benefit from this facility.
“I understand that it costs around £90,000 to run each year and the board rely on funding to meet these costs.”
The chairman of the pool’s board of trustees Chris Combe said he was confident that the venue had sufficient money to remain open for at least two years.