The amazing story of Lu – Brighton, Horsham, Haywards Heath and Chailey East Sussex

By Peter Lindsey

IT’S a miracle that Lu Seymour is alive – and now she wants to say a huge thank you to the Sussex charity which has played a key part in her amazing recovery.

It was the week before Christmas back in 2020 – during the Covid lockdown – when she was taken ill with a ruptured bowel.

Lu, now 77 and from Lindfield near Haywards Heath, spent NINE months in intensive care – eight at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton and one at the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath. She was in an induced coma for much of that time on a ventilator.

After a further month in rehabilitation at Horsham Hospital, she was able to, finally, begin the long road to recovery.

From the start of this recovery, it was realised that she had very limited mobility, and has realised since then that she has had to adjust to her new normal. Her neuro physiotherapist said she would benefit from a warm swimming pool environment.

Lu said: “I have always loved swimming and, before I was ill, I used to swim at Chailey Heritage Foundation’s hydrotherapy pool on with a swim school. But the swim school had moved to a different location, so we got in touch directly with Chailey Heritage Foundation to see if we could still have access to the pool.

“I never imagined it would be possible but the manager at the Leisure and Skills Centre (LSC) at Chailey Heritage told us that I could book sessions through the LSC. I started going every week – and it has been an absolute lifesaver for me and my husband Roger.

“Both of us come and it makes such a difference to how I feel. I walk up and down the pool, I exercise. It relaxes and strengthens my muscles, and it’s like being in a hot bath. The temperature is around 33 degrees.

“It’s tiring but it’s so beneficial. The staff at Chailey are so kind and encouraging and I knew with my condition that I couldn’t go to a normal pool.

“The anticipation of my regular swim is a morale booster and coming to the pool at Chailey gives me just that.”

Lu’s recovery is quite amazing.

She said: “I really shouldn’t be here and I know that the doctors and nurses – who were so fantastic – thought at times that I wouldn’t pull through.

“The staff at the Intensive Care Units were so kind and I can’t thank them enough for what they did. They saved my life.

“There were three times in an eight-month period at the Royal Sussex when they thought that I was going to die.

“They say that if you can survive 30 days in an ICU, then you have a chance. I had a chance, and I’m here to tell the tale.”

It has been tough too for devoted husband Roger. He used to work in London until he retired and now he cares for Lu, although she remains as independent as possible. She still does the cooking and other household chores.

Roger said: “It all happened during Covid and for two months we weren’t able to visit Lu. We used to Facetime her when she was well enough.

“The family knew that she was being taken care of in hospital, and we are just so very thankful that she is here today.”

As well as the pool being wonderful for Lu, Roger uses the fully accessible gym at Chailey Heritage. It did not take him long to realise that this gym, along with the staff offered the same highest quality of professionalism.

Knowing that he was waiting to have a knee replacement operation, staff at the gym devised a programme pre-operation. This gave him pre-op support that he couldn’t get in a regular gym.

Subsequently, after the operation, he has returned for rehabilitation gym sessions, and wants, enthusiastically, to keep visiting the gym! And Lu has also decided to join the gym since, so now they can both work out together.

The pair both want to say thank you to Chailey Heritage Foundation, especially the team at the LSC – but also to make others aware of the excellent facilities available at the Mid Sussex charity for people in the community.

The LSC is a modern and vibrant facility offering a wide range of activities to people in the community aged 16 and above, with a physical and/or learning disability.

To find out more please visit,, email: or call 01825723723



  • Lyn Funnell

    Lyn is the co-owner of Unknown Kent and Sussex. She lives in Sussex. Lyn has been writing for most of her life, both Fiction & Non-Fiction. She loves cookery & creating original recipes. She's won a lot of prizes, including Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu & on BBC The One Show as a runner-up, making her Britain's Spag Bol Queen! She has had nine books published so far. History, Travel & Restaurant Reviews are her main interests.

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