Ballet lover able to dance again for first time in 25 years

Linda Pickup (third from left) with her dance class friends
Linda Pickup (third from left) with her dance class friends

Wigan’s hospital trust has helped get a ballet dancer back on the barre for the first time in 25 years.

Linda Pickup was able to perform with her dance group again after a quarter of a century, following treatment at Wrightington Hospital.

She had been wrongly diagnosed elsewhere in the NHS, but came to the borough and worked with physiotherapist Sonya Spencer from Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust to get back on pointe once more.

She described the emotion of being able to perform after such a long time and thanked WWL for its work.

The 57-year-old, from Great Harwood in Lancashire, said: “I cried when I put my ballet slippers on again for the first time. It was amazing to be able to dance again.

“I was referred to Sonya by a consultant at Wrightington after I had expressed my upset at being given an incorrect diagnosis at another hospital.

“After I’d met with her, she gave me hope that I would improve and gave me exercises to do at home. She just helped, supported and inspired me so much.

“My overall health has improved too, and, while my feet are still a little sore, with insoles I am able to dance and can also walk much further than I could.

“Sonya is a very special person who has lit up my life again and made me sparkle.

“I would tell anyone who has found themselves in a similar position to me, don’t ever give up. There is always a way to get back into something you loved doing, it helps much more than your physical health – it makes you feel wonderful.”

Linda returned to the stage to perform with the Janet Lomas School of Dancing in Bury.

Sonya spoke of how having a goal has helped Linda with her health.

She said: “Linda’s potential to improve with physiotherapy was set from her initial assessment when we identified her immense joy from ballet.

“Despite having not danced for some years, this was just the inspiration it took to unlock her overall benefits of rehabilitation.

“We are very fortunate within WWL as our department ethos actively encourages listening to the patients’ own goals and aspirations to tailor our work.

“I’m very proud to have made a positive impact with Linda and to have played a small part in helping her return to her treasured hobby that she thought was impossible.”