Monday, 16 December 2019

Women launch foot clinic after helping Indian lepers

Women launch foot clinic after helping Indian lepers

TWO women have set up a podiatry clinic in Wargrave.

Alison Clark-Morris and Mandy Morris are friends who decided to set up Feetwise Footcare after visiting India together to treat people with leprosy and finding they made a good team.

Mrs Clark-Morris, 53, is a podiatrist with more than 30 years’ experience and Miss Morris is a foot health practitioner and a dental nurse at the Wargrave Dental Clinic in High Street, where their clinic opened last month. Their partners are directors of Theale Wellbeing Centre.

The women decided to make the most of the dental surgery’s recent expansion by combining their experience of treating feet, although Miss Morris continues to work at the dentist’s two days a week.

Mrs Clark-Morris, who is a member of the College of Podiatry, said: “We are both very caring people and we love doing the cosmetic side of the job as well as the medical part.

“We want people to come here and feel like they have not just had a treatment but they have also been listened to so they will walk away with a really good feeling. It is always better when someone understands the benefit of their treatment and we want them to feel relaxed.”

Mrs Clark-Morris, who lives in Bradfield with her husband Lloyd and has three children, qualified in 1987. She has been to India four times, the last time with Miss Morris in April when they volunteered at the Village of Hope, a leprosy colony in East Delhi.

Leprosy is a disease that affects peripheral nerves, so causes numbness in hands and feet which leads to infection and ulcers if not treated.

Miss Morris, 49, who had not been to Village of Hope previously, said: “While we were out in India, we realised that we work really well together and our skills complement each other.

“We trust each other so much. We rely on each other and know that we are similar but have different strengths. I would not be able to do this without Alison.”

Miss Morris, who lives in Wallingford with her partner Michael Palfrey and also has three children, qualified as a dental nurse when she was 16 and has worked at the dental practice since 2007.

She decided now was the time for a change of direction in her career.

Miss Morris said: “Approaching the age of 50, I wanted something that I could do for myself. I wanted a little bit of extra independence.

“Feedback from the dental patients was the inspiration for the business. They said they were keen to have a footcare service and being able to share some of the services with the dental surgery makes it so much easier.

“People have talked a lot about how the village has changed significantly in the last couple of years. There is just nothing on the high street, so we were quite keen to bring another service to Wargrave.

“There is a generation of people that need help with their feet and we can provide that service.

“The people with bad feet are going to appreciate the treatment even more.

“It is nice to be able to make someone feel good and educate them on foot health. It can be strange when I am doing the new job because I still want to know if the patients are all right.”

Miss Morris, who has sponsored orphans in Delhi to ensure they get an education, will be returning to India with her business partner in February. They treated 166 people during their visit in April.

She said: “It was a very rewarding experience because you get to make such a big difference. It is a very humbling experience.”

Mrs Clark-Morris said: “A previous time I was there, we decided to raise money for some tricycles because a lot of them need to take the pressure off their feet in order to get about.

“We raised enough money for 57 tricycles, which were worth about £5,000. Last year we were out there for World Leprosy Day and we were asked to present the tricycles to people and it was an absolutely magical moment.”

Wargrave Dental Clinic is run by husband and wife team Ranju Khurana and Anu Chadha and has been on the high street since January 2014.

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