A veteran fundraiser is calling for a bid to set up a new £50,000 hydrotherapy pod in Market Harborough to be stepped up – 30 years after the project was launched.
Carole Tilley, 73, is poised to become a new trustee of the Hippo Appeal a staggering three decades after helping to get it off the ground back in 1992.
But she told the Harborough Mail today she fears the whole process has ground to a halt after picking up pace at the end of last year.
“It’s very frustrating and so annoying that here we are still talking about installing this hydrotherapy pod at Harborough Leisure Centre in Market Harborough.
“All we seem to do is to talk – and we get nowhere,” declared Carole, of Bath Steet, Market Harborough.
“I do understand that the Charity Commission has to do a proper job making sure that the funds for this are all there and that the new trustees are all fully vetted.
“But I understood at the end of last year that we’d be ready to put this equipment in to the sports centre this spring.
“And we are still nowhere near doing that,” said Carole, who has been raising cash to support Harborough charities over 50 years.
“I have just spoken to the existing trustee Roger Dunton about this.
“I’ve now filled in a form agreeing to become a trustee.
“But I still can’t believe that we are still here holding endless discussions about this therapy pod 30 years after I helped set up the Hippo Appeal in the early 1990s.
“I bet there is no other charity appeal in the country, if not the world, still trying to achieve its objective 30 years after starting up.
“It breaks my heart to think how many local people who for one reason or another need urgent therapeutic treatment we could have helped out over the years,” said Carole.
“Hundreds of local people helped to rake in the money to pay for this therapy pod – either by fundraising themselves or by donating cash.
“Very sadly many of them have now passed away it’s taken that long to make our dream come true.
“So I am urging the Charity Commission to get a move on and pull their finger out so that we can get this new pool installed by this summer.”
Carole is being backed all the way as she fights for a positive outcome by Harborough MP Neil O’Brien.
Neil told the Mail: “I fully support Carole in her tireless campaigning to get this new hydrotherapy pod set up.
“She has waited far too long.
“We seem to be getting closer to a solution at last,” said Neil.
“But I will continue to work alongside Carole and with the Charity Commission to make sure that we finally get there and achieve the right result after an astonishing 30 years.”
A Charity Commission spokeswoman told us: “We are in the final stages of using our powers to appoint a new trustee board to Hippo Appeal who will administer and monitor the funds for their intended purpose of providing a hydrotherapy pool in Market Harborough.”