I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and standard of JD Wetherspoon’s refurbishment of their pub and beer garden in Crown Passage, but I wasn’t expecting the re-opening of the historic Crown Hotel to offer such delightful accommodation. The Hotel, originally opened around 1669 as a coaching Inn, offers 18 bedrooms spread over three floors (including two pairs of rooms which are interconnecting) and a disabled access room. The rooms feature an ensuite bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, hair dryer, flat-screen television and Wi-Fi, as well as digital air-conditioning and temperature control.
The design is based around music, since composer Sir Edward Elgar played and rehearsed in the building in the late 1800s. Each bedroom has a hand painted violin as a piece of artwork. The bedroom carpet has an abstract pattern taken from one of Elgar’s music scores and the corridor carpet similarly follows this idea with a musical emblem as the pattern, as well as musical themed paintings.
My “Day in a Wheelchair” seemed to attract a lot of publicity and, for me, was a bit of an eye opener. Apart from getting soaked in the rain as I found it’s impossible to hold an umbrella and propel the wheelchair at the same time, I found lots of difficulties that I would have otherwise been unaware of. Slopes and gradients could be a problem and they certainly affected direction and stability and being so low down meant cash machines (ATMs) were unreadable as the angle of the light striking them blanked out all the instructions. Items on high shelves in shops couldn’t be reached and one needed help to get to them and strangely, when I was accompanied, people occasionally spoke over me to the person with me rather than directly addressing me.
Why would I do this you might ask? Well two main reasons – firstly to promote the forthcoming European Wheelchair Basket Ball Games to be held at the Arena and to encourage support for Team GB!! The other reason was to help raise general awareness of the difficulties faced by wheelchair users, and to understand some of the issues.
Sophie Carrigill, Team Captain of GB Wheelchair Basketball was great company, so don’t miss out! There will be 73 action-packed matches split over 33 sessions – great opportunities to watch top class sport and support the Great Britain teams as they embark on their road to Rio.