Disabled fishing Sheffield: Ecclesfield Dam unveils 'Lillia's Peg' in honour of wheelchair-bound little girl
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‘Lillia’s Peg’, a purpose built platform by the water suitable for wheelchairs and other disabilities, is now open to the public at Ecclesfield Dam off Church Street, Ecclesfield. With the use of handrails and safety barriers, owner Darrell Smedley has built a safe venue where everyone can dip their lines and take part in angling at the pond.
The peg is named after Sheffield’s-own Lillia Sheppard, a six-year-old girl from Parsons Cross living with the rare mitochondrial disease known as Leigh syndrome.
Her dad, Matthew Sheppard, will be unmistakable to some of Sheffield’s ladies after he and his team of scaffolders gave the performance of a lifetime last summer with their bare-all ‘Full Monty’ charity evening at Colley Working Men’s Club. The unforgettable girls-only night raised over £3,400 for the charity My Mito Mission in Lillia's name.
Matt is a keen angler who made friends with Ecclesfield Dam’s owner Darrell when he took over the pond two years ago, leading to the peg’s heartwarming new name when it opened last week when Lillia, Matt and mum Emma were first on the platform.
Darrell said: “We had an idea to build a disabled peg and when Matt told me about his little lass I said straight away, ‘we’ll name it after Lillia then’.
"It was a brilliant day. I got a bit emotional myself, I must admit.”
Darrell even paid for a plaque with Lillia's name on it to christen the peg. The project comes as part of a set of renovations at Ecclesfield Dam to bump up what they can offer to anglers and their families.
Lillia’s mum Emma told The Star: “It's so nice that Matt can now take Lillia fishing with him and she can sit with him all day by the pond. Matt goes to a lot of ponds but he’s never been able to take her along before.
"It was a very emotional day. The peg is such a nice thing to do that shows the kind of community we’ve got around us.”
For more information on Emma and Matt’s superb fundraising for Lillia’s My Mito Mission, which has now topped £11,500, visit their fundraising website.