Hospital boss Nick Hulme tackles epic walk to fulfil promise to late wife Annette

Nick Hulme with his wife, Annette, who died of breast cancer in January 2018 Picture: NICK HULME

Nick Hulme with his wife, Annette, who died of breast cancer in January 2018 Picture: NICK HULME - Credit: NICK HULME

The chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals is preparing to embark on a poignant trek in tribute to his “inspirational” wife following her death from breast cancer.

Nick Hulme and his beloved black Labrador Stanley will tackle the 191-mile Coast to Coast Walk over two weeks from June 18 to fulfil a pledge he made to his wife, Annette, who died in January at the age of 58.

The couple, who were married for four years, had planned to complete the challenge together after Mr Hulme retired at 60.

A few weeks before her death, Mrs Hulme made her husband promise to take on the epic ramble in her memory, and raise money for two organisations that supported the family throughout her 18-month battle with the disease.

Mr Hulme, 57, is aiming to raise at least £14,000 to be split between Ipswich Hospital’s Blossom Appeal for a new breast care unit, and St Elizabeth Hospice’s community services, which made it possible for Mrs Hulme to die at home as she wanted to.

Paying tribute his wife, who also worked in the NHS as a director of human resources at hospitals in London, Mr Hulme said: “Professionally she was inspirational, she was fantastic at her job.

“She was very kind. She had a smile for everybody.

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“She was always more worried about the day the nurses were having rather than how she was feeling. She never let anybody know when she was in pain or exhausted, she was an inspiration to everybody.

“She was happy and optimistic right until the end. The last drink she ever had was a glass of champagne – that was her all over really.”

The Coast to Coast Walk goes from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire.

Mr Hulme, who lives in east Suffolk, is set to finish the hilly challenge on July 1 – the day Ipswich and Colchester hospitals officially merge.

Along the way he will be joined by friends and family, and he will write a blog about his experiences under the guise of Stanley.

“It will be a mixed walk in terms of some really happy memories and obviously some sad memories now she is not around but it was her inspiration that made me do it and she will be watching me and Stanley all the way,” Mr Hulme added.

To donate, visit Mr Hulme’s JustGiving page.