Birmingham & Black Country

Sports complex opens for injured troops and families

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Media captionFisher House, near Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, was opened by the Prince of Wales in June

A £100,000 sports facility for wounded troops and their families has opened in the grounds of Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

It allows wounded soldiers to enjoy sports therapy with the help of their families.

Money for the facility, based at the £4.2m Fisher House building, was raised by the Royal Marines Association.

Ex-Royal Marine Mark Ormrod, the first triple amputee to return from Afghanistan, cut the ribbon.

He said he wished the facility had been available when he was recovering.

"You spend a lot of time in your hospital room watching countless DVDs, surfing the internet, feeling pretty useless and out of touch with the world," he said.

"Just to be able to come out, get some fresh air, have some fun and interaction with your kids and your family and build up a bit of a sweat does an awful lot for your physical and mental well-being."

'Huge difference'

The facility features tennis, golf and basketball equipment and has been developed in a partnership between the hospital's charity trust and Fisher House.

Image caption The MUGA was officially opened by Mark Ormrod

Chief executive of the Royal Marines Association, Brig Mike Ellis, said: "Our branches and supporters across the UK really got behind the idea of the Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA), which meant we were able to raise the £100,000 needed."

Hospital chief executive, Mike Hammond, said: "It's a place where injured troops will have the opportunity to get back into sports with the help of family and staff.

"That will make a huge difference to their recovery."

The first Fisher House for service families opened in the US in 1991.

Ken Fisher, chairman of the Fisher House Foundation said of the Birmingham facility: "It's a smaller version of those in the US but we're going to bring the entire model to the UK, including the design and the support system."

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