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Salisbury clinical engineers stand up to seating challenge 

Clinical engineers in the Salisbury District Hospital Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering Department have developed a unique seating system that will help disabled yachtsman Geoff Holt in his bid to sail solo around the coast of Great Britain.


Bill Cox Martin (Centre) with HRH The Princess Royal and Geoff Holt at the promotional launch of the event that took place in March at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre, London.

Photo: onEdition


Geoff has been a wheelchair user since a swimming accident when he was 18 years old and is a former spinal patient at Salisbury District Hospital. Having seen the expertise and knowledge available at the hospital, he turned to the engineers to design a seating system that would give him the stability and protection for his skin that he needs to complete his challenge.

Bill Cox Martin, Senior Rehabilitation Engineer at Salisbury District Hospital said:
"The seat is carved from a foam cast taken from Geoff in his sitting position. It provides pressure relief by maximising the area of contact throughout the seat. The backrest is shaped to provide postural stability enabling Geoff to use his arms to sail his boat rather than to hold himself upright."

"We supply it primarily for use in wheelchairs. However, as can be seen with Geoff's example, it can be fitted into pretty well anything that will help to widen the range of activities that people with restricted mobility can take part in."

Mr Cox Martin added: "We hope that Geoff will inspire other people to perhaps achieve more than they thought they could, although perhaps not to the extremes of sailing around Britain. "

Geoff Holt said: "Perhaps the most critical issue that I face is that of seating and ensuring that I avoid any pressure problems. I shall be seated for up to 10 hours a day in a confined space with my legs elevated to the same level as my hips. It's an unnatural position to sit in on land, let alone when being rolled around in all sorts of conditions at sea."

"It is imperative that I avoid pressure sores or marks on my backside else the entire Project will be over and I could face time in hospital. The seat that Bill and Kelly have designed and crafted, offers the exact pressure relief I need and is custom made to fit into my boat. Not only does it feel comfortable, but it has lateral supports to prevent me falling out of the boat. It's a pivotal piece of kit and there would be no record attempt without it, for which I'm extremely grateful."

Although the Personal Everest Challenge starts in mid-May 2007, the promotional launch of the event took place in March at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre, London in the presence of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. At that launch, Geoff exhibited his specially modified Challenger trimaran dinghy and announced further details of his programme for the event. This will take about 50 days to complete and cover 1,600 miles." Ends

Notes to editors:

The seat was developed by Senior Rehabilitation Engineer Bill Cox Martin and Medical Engineering technician Kelly Wicheard at Salisbury District Hospital

More information on Geoff's challenge can be found at:

For further information please contact:
Patrick Butler, Public Relations Manager, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. Tel: 01722 425170

Page Last Updated: 08/05/2014 10:05 
Printed from Salisbury NHS Foundation Website