Challenge to helo paralysed teenager

A PAIR of Suffolk prison workers are preparing to canoe more than 60 miles to raise money for a teenage girl who was left paralysed from the neck down.

A PAIR of Suffolk prison workers are preparing to canoe more than 60 miles to raise money for a teenage girl who was left paralysed from the neck down.

Construction instructor Dennis McGeachie and physical instructor Barry Adams, who work at Hollesley Bay Prison, near Woodbridge, will take on Scotland's most challenging waterway in support of 16-year-old Rebecca Ling.

Rebecca, who relies on a ventilator to breathe, was left paralysed from the neck down following an operation for curvature of the spine in January last year.

Mr McGeachie, from Felixstowe, and Mr Adams, from Hollesley, are taking on the Caledonian Canal Challenge on Saturday, in the hope of raising money to help pay for her care.

Starting at Neptune's Staircase, at Fort William, they and four others will canoe more than 60 miles, taking on the 600ft deep icy waters of Loch Ness, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Dochfour.

Mr McGeachie, who teaches skills to help adult prisoners gain employment on their release, decided to get involved because the daughter of his friends', Colin and Sarah Demant, was in the same ward as Rebecca and had the same operation to correct curvature to the spine.

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He said: “For their daughter, Charlotte, it was a complete success and they were delighted.

“On returning to the hospital some months later for a check up, Colin and Sarah were at first pleased to see Rebecca's parents.

“They assumed they were like them, back for the same successful post-operation check. But their pleasure at seeing their old friends soon changed as they listened to their heartbreaking story.

Rebecca, who lives with her parents in Southend-on-Sea, had a six hour operation to correct a curvature of the spine in January last year but within five hours of waking from the surgery she had no feeling from the neck down.

To donate visit www.rebeccaling.com .

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