SPECIAL GIFT: Jean Willsher inspects the new pool hoist at the Coffs Harbour War Memorial Pool.
SPECIAL GIFT: Jean Willsher inspects the new pool hoist at the Coffs Harbour War Memorial Pool.

Russell Crowe’s gift makes a splash with disabled

IT'S a gift that means the world to many wheel chair-enabled Coffs Coast residents.

A new disability hoist, donated to the city by Russell Crowe, is now operational at the Coffs Harbour War Memorial Pool.

The hoist and a change table, built in a poolside room, will help carers lift people into a special pool chair so they can access the indoor pool.

"We are lucky to have Russell in our community, he heard the call and answered it," Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight said.

"This facility could have been paid for by council, but it just would have taken much longer to install.

"We really need to say a big thank you to Russell."

Robert Manwaring of Disability Services said the pool hoist, which was fast tracked by a $40,000 donation from Russell, has been three years in the making.

The unveiling yesterday signified a special occasion for Jean Willsher, who became a paraplegic after a ladder fall in 2004.

"It also gives people in wheelchairs dignity in being able to use the pool and that's important," Jean said.

"Russell Crowe really is a lovely man whose heart is in the right place.

"Before my accident I helped to build the cricket field at the family's property.

"This really is special to me. I haven't been to the pool for a swim yet, but now I may come regularly."


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