Beach wheelchairs for Low Newton as public toilets revamp completed

Work has finished on a very special public toilet refurbishment at a tourism hotspot.

Friday, 22nd July 2022, 12:51 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd July 2022, 12:54 pm

A beach wheelchair was recently donated to Low Newton and now a storage area for it has been created at the renovated public conveniences.

The chair was donated by Rob Racenis in memory of his wife Jill.

He said: “I’m proud to be part of this scheme and Jill would have been thrilled that her name would be linked to helping others to experience the nature, the beauty, the sounds and smells she loved so much.

The new facilities at Newton by the Sea public toilets.

"We came here for years and when I lost Jill last year and I was asked if I might be interested in this scheme, it was a no brainer. So, this is for Jill and all the other people I hope will use it.”

Funding for the beach store was provided by Katie Steele and her family in memory of her husband, Professor Jimmy Steele. They have also funded a hut at Bamburgh.

“I saw an appeal for funding for the hut at Bamburgh in the news and it struck a chord with me,” she said. “I used to be a doctor who looked after people with muscular dystrophy and related conditions and I knew how difficult it was for people with reduced mobility to get on to the sand.

“My husband Jimmy, who had died just a couple of years ago, was a passionate lover of the Northumberland coastline and he would have loved the thought that he could help people get out and enjoy the seaside and the wonders of nature.”

Donors Rob Racenis and Katie Steele with the beach wheelchairs

The improvements at the Low Newton facilities are part of a wider £1.35m three-year programme of works to improve the standard of 54 council managed public toilets.

Cllr Wendy Pattison, local member, said: “I’m delighted the county council has been able to assist during the refurbishment of the public toilets and facilitated the housing for a beach wheelchair at Newton by the Sea.”

Cllr John Roper from Newton by the Sea Parish Council, added: “This beach wheelchair unit will be a wonderful facility for both locals and visitors alike.

“I am particularly delighted how very quickly the project was completed through very close collaboration between the parish council, county council, Beach Access NE and the two amazingly generous sponsors."