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Brave abseiling fundraisers net £30k for Ipswich Hospital Charity

PUBLISHED: 13:55 28 May 2017

Ipswich Hospital Charity events and community fundraising officer Jessica Watkins sets off on her abseil. Picture: DAVE TALBOT - ADVENTURE EVENTS

Ipswich Hospital Charity events and community fundraising officer Jessica Watkins sets off on her abseil. Picture: DAVE TALBOT - ADVENTURE EVENTS

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Inspired by tragic loss, heartfelt thanks or loved ones gone too soon - nearly 200 brave souls overcame their nerves at the weekend in appreciation of Suffolk’s largest hospital.

.John Morley, 91, gets ready for the abseil at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: NIGE BROWN.John Morley, 91, gets ready for the abseil at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: NIGE BROWN

In groups, pairs or on their own they abseiled the height of Ipswich Hospital’s maternity building, raising more than £30,000 for the charitable trust.

Challengers taking part over Saturday and Sunday included staff members, patients and grateful relatives, who were all willing to show their thanks by stepping off a roof 120ft above the ground with only a thin rope and harness for safety.

Many of those involved had been helped by the hospital during times of family tragedy.

Charlotte Markham, 43, completed the abseil to raise more than £1,000 for the hospital’s baby bereavement group, which helped her and husband Melvyn following the death of their son Elliot.

Crowds watch the abseiling. Picture: NIGE BROWNCrowds watch the abseiling. Picture: NIGE BROWN

Elliot suffered from a genetic disorder called Edwards’ syndrome and survived only 17hrs 5mins after being delivered at the hospital on June 8, 2012.

Mrs Markham, who lives in Kesgrave and has two other children, said the bereavement group “made a huge difference”. “They gave us everything so we could enjoy the short time we had with Elliot,” she said. “They were amazing.”

Sarah Foster, 47, from Ipswich, was taking part on the 25th anniversary of the death of her father, Henry Webb, to support the heart ward that cared for him.

“I think this is a nice way to turn a sad occasion into something more positive,” she said,

Mr Morley with his wife Jean. Picture: NIGE BROWNMr Morley with his wife Jean. Picture: NIGE BROWN

“It’s my way of giving something back and saying thank you for the fantastic care they gave my dad.”

Emily Coe, 22, wanted to complete the abseil for two of her grandparents who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Her funds will go to the hospital’s neurology department.

“They’ve helped my nan a lot over the past years, so this is me giving something back,” she said.

Many of those taking part were also motivated by the challenge itself.

One of the abseilers sets off. Picture: NIGE BROWNOne of the abseilers sets off. Picture: NIGE BROWN

Felixstowe’s John Morley, who at 91 years old was the oldest participant, completed the abseil dressed as Spider-Man to huge cheers from the crowd.

Before the challenge, he said he wanted to give back “in style” to the people who have helped him through his illness.

Emma Rawling, 22, also said she had taken on the abseil as a challenge. “I had a bit of a rough year last year and so this year I wanted to push myself to do as many challenges as possible,” she said.

Eight staff members from the Ipswich Building Society took part, raising nearly £2,000 which will be doubled by the company.

The abseilers descended more 120ft. Picture: NIGE BROWNThe abseilers descended more 120ft. Picture: NIGE BROWN

Staff member Kara Redman said: “We wanted to take part in a challenge that meant something to all of us.”

In all, across the two days, 192 people signed up to the challenge, raising funds for 41 different wards and departments.

Others taking part included the hospital’s midwives, who were raising funds to buy more equipment, improve birthing facilities and make the maternity ward feel more homely.

Neonatal nurse Sharon Brittain, who had already raised more than £1,000 for her own department, said: “It is my mission every day to ensure that the babies in my care and their families have the best possible experience at an extremely frightening and stressful time.”

Each of the challengers was raising for the hospitals various wards and departments. Picture: NIGE BROWNEach of the challengers was raising for the hospitals various wards and departments. Picture: NIGE BROWN

Emma Pritchard was raising money for the Children’s Angel Appeal to say thank you for the care her son has received.

And medical neuroscience student April Morrison supported neurology, while Charlotte Webb opted for children’s health.

Even chief executive Nick Hulme had signed up to take part with his son.

It was the first abseil to be held at the hospital in six years.

The fundraisers have raised more than £30,000. Picture: NIGE BROWNThe fundraisers have raised more than £30,000. Picture: NIGE BROWN

Jessica Watkins, events and community fundraising officer for the Ipswich Hospital Charity, said she wanted to bring it back to support the hospital.

“With nearly 200 people taking part over the weekend supporting 41 different wards and departments, it’s been a great success,” she added.

“Nearly everyone here has had a really personal reason for why they wanted to do it.”

Mandy Jordan, head of fundraising with the Ipswich Hospital Charity thanked everyone for taking part.

Crowds cheered the challengers on. Picture: NIGE BROWNCrowds cheered the challengers on. Picture: NIGE BROWN

For more information about the charity and its work, visit www.ipswichhospitalcharity.co.uk or call the charity team on 01473 702929.


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