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Abseil challenge
15 March 2017

A grateful husband who is preparing to abseil 120 feet down our hospital’s maternity block to thank staff for the care his wife received has shared his story in the hope it will encourage others to take up the challenge for charity.

Andy and Linda Welham. Karina Youngs and Jessica Watkins from the Ipswich Hospital Charity team in front of the 120 foot Maternity Block.
Andy and Linda Welham. Karina Youngs and Jessica Watkins from the Ipswich Hospital Charity team in front of the 120 foot Maternity Block.

Andy Welham and his niece Tanya will join hundreds of other daredevils over the May bank holiday weekend to raise money for The Ipswich Hospital Charity. The daring duo decided to take part to thank the oncology department for the care which Andy’s wife Linda received after being diagnosed with lung cancer seven years ago.

“The abseil will be a real experience and not something which everyone gets the chance to do,” said Andy, who is 66 and lives in Ipswich. “It’s also a nice way to give back to the hospital and say thank you.

“When my lovely wife Linda was diagnosed, we felt that we were alone in a world of darkness. The pain was unbearable for both of us as we had been inseparable for over 40yrs and lived together, worked together and played together.

“Then Dr Tim Podd, nurse specialist Chris Garlick and the oncology team came into our lives and gave us hope and strength. Although they couldn’t offer a cure, they offered us time.

“I credit all the wonderfully friendly people in the Oncology Department, including the receptionists who took the time to call Lin by her first name every time they saw her, with saving her for more than six years. They were just marvellous and all showed great compassion and empathy towards us both.

“Lin was beautiful and I miss her every day. She was such a strong lady – people used to say that I was her rock, but the truth is it was the other way round.

“I think on the day of the abseil I will be apprehensive but also excited. I hope that Tanya and I can raise a lot of money so that we can help the hospital to help other people.”

Andy and his niece will complete the abseil in memory of Lin, who sadly passed away in May aged 63.

Mandy Jordan, head of charity and fundraising with The Ipswich Hospital Charity, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Andy and Tanya for honouring Linda’s memory by signing up to take part in our popular abseil.

“We are still looking for more people to register and experience the ultimate adrenalin rush while raising money for their local hospital at the same time. Please do get in touch if you’d like to follow Andy’s lead and take the plunge.”

The abseil will take place on 27, 28 and 29 May. Registration costs £35 while participants each need to raise a minimum of £150 in sponsorship.

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