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International

New prosthetics gratefully received by Rotary in St Lucia

New prosthetics gratefully received by Rotary in St Lucia

For two and a half years, two Rotary clubs from opposite sides of the world have been working together to improve the lives of amputees on the Caribbean Island of St Lucia.

Immediate Past President of Winchester Rotary Club Richard Spalding was recently thanked on behalf of the club for the latest donation of approximately £40,000 worth of prosthetic components to the Rotary Club of Gros Islet in St Lucia (RCGI).

On the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, Richard attended a small reception at St Lucia’s National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) to celebrate Winchester Rotary’s continued partnership with RCGI.

Over the past two and a half years, Winchester Rotary has donated over £100,000 of prosthetic components to RCGI, making a real difference to the lives of amputees across St Lucia.

The arrangement between the clubs started in 2017 when RGCI asked Winchester Rotary if they could help source a motorised wheelchair as well as some supports to fit into adult size wheelchairs.”

Richard was accompanied by Past President of St Lucia Lenita Joseph, who helped initiate the programme of donation, and the thanks was given by Merphilus Jones, President of the NCPD and an amputee himself.

Also in attendance were two fellow amputees, Mr Plant and Ms Alexander, who have benefitted directly from Winchester Rotary’s donations and provided a particularly moving moment in the presentation when they expressed their personal thanks to Richard.

Lenita Joseph, Mr Plant, Merphilus James, Richard Spalding, Ms Alexander and the 2021 shipment of prosthetic components and the TFSR crate.

The arrangement between the clubs started in 2017 when RGCI asked Winchester Rotary if they could help source a motorised wheelchair as well as some supports to fit into adult size wheelchairs.

Then in 2018, Lenita took Richard to St Lucia where he visited a small shack that was being used by a part-time prosthetics technician to help fit prostheses.

Richard knew that he needed to do something to make a change, especially as St Lucia has one of the highest levels of amputations per capita in the world, mostly due to very high rates of diabetes and road traffic accidents.

Over the past two and a half years, Winchester Rotary has donated over £100,000 of prosthetic components to RCGI, making a real difference to the lives of amputees across St Lucia.”

Richard and Lenita set about a 4-part approach: finding new premises, seeking volunteers to become prosthetic technicians, identifying a trainer to train the technicians, and obtaining some prosthetic legs and other components.

This all came together, with new premises built, 20 volunteer technicians found (4 finally selected) and a trainer brought in from the USA.

It also included finding about £60,000 worth of mostly recycled prosthetic components (feet, tubes, knees etc), courtesy of Alasdair Gilbertson, who worked at the Portsmouth Prosthetics Centre.