Vampires prepare to tackle dragons

A GROUP of “Vampires” from Ipswich Hospital are taking part in a charity boat race at Alton Water.Sarah Bird, a member of the phlebotomy - blood specialists - team, lost her husband Lawrence to cancer two years ago, and her colleagues wanted to do something in his memory and raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice.

A GROUP of “Vampires” from Ipswich Hospital are taking part in a charity boat race at Alton Water.

Sarah Bird, a member of the phlebotomy - blood specialists - team, lost her husband Lawrence to cancer two years ago, and her colleagues wanted to do something in his memory and raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice.

They are taking part in the hospice's Dragon Boat Race on Saturday, which will see up to 27 teams compete against each other in three races.

Mrs Bird, 42, from Rushmere St Andrew, nursed her husband herself at home but had the back-up of the hospice staff whenever she needed it.

Lawrence died on July 1 2007 at the age of 51 following a 19-month battle with bone and liver cancer.

Her father, John Rush, also died from cancer ten years ago at the hospice, and tribute funds have been set up for both men to raise money for the charity.

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Mrs Bird said: “There are 11 of us taking part in the race. We are known as the Vampires around the hospital because we take people's blood. It is a bit of a cheeky nickname.

“We are even planning to dress up as vampires on the day. We are drumming up lots of support and getting all our family and friends to come and watch us and cheer us on. We are really looking forward to it and it should be a fantastic day.

“The hospice gives help and support to not only the patient but also the families as well. It is important to have somewhere like this which allows patients to stay in their own home in familiar surroundings and have the hospice's support. It was very important for us that Lawrence could stay at home.”

Each crew member has to raise at least �75 each, so it is hoped the final figure will be more than �1,000.

Each team takes part in three races with the fastest teams going through to semi finals and then a grand final. There will also be food, drink and entertainment on the day, including the popular Samboomba band. It starts at 10.30am.

For more information about the race, contact Patsy Johnson, events co-ordinator, on 01473 707005, e-mail fundraising@stelizabethhospice.org.uk or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk.

Are you taking part in a charity event? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.