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Tessa Oxlade  with Mike Wootton; the Diagnostic Imaging team, who are (L – R) Judith Shanks, Tanbira Lubana, Sabina Begum and Patrick Whitear; and Tessa Oxlade after the jump.
Tessa Oxlade with Mike Wootton; the Diagnostic Imaging team, who are (L – R) Judith Shanks, Tanbira Lubana, Sabina Begum and Patrick Whitear; and Tessa Oxlade after the jump.
Leap of faith raises £10,000 for patients
09 October 2016

Fearless free-fallers have raised nearly £10,000 for patients receiving care at our hospital after taking a 10,000-foot leap of faith from the Suffolk skies.

The Ipswich Hospital Charity’s annual skydive saw 23 hospital staff and East of England Ambulance colleagues complete the jump at Beccles Airfield, alongside two brave members of the public.

Among them was Tessa Oxlade, who jumped in place of her 80-year-old step-father-in-law Mike Wootton, who had planned to complete the jump to say thank you for the care he has received at the hospital but sadly had to drop out for health reasons. 

“I had 38 radiotherapy sessions last year while I was being treated for prostate cancer and couldn’t praise the staff enough – they were just wonderful,” said Mike, who is now planning a 50-mile sponsored cycle ride to raise money for the hospital instead. “I now feel really well so was very disappointed when I heard I couldn’t do the skydive.

“Tess jumped at the chance to take my place and was just brilliant. She was all smiles from when we arrived at the airfield until the second she landed. I was very proud of her.”

Despite being unable to jump, Mike continued to raise money and between them, the duo collected £720 for the radiotherapy department.

“I was only too pleased to help out when Mike told me he was unable to jump,” said Tessa. “It was the perfect excuse for me to tick something off my bucket list while also raising money for a really lovely cause.

“Mike was treated fantastically by the staff at Ipswich Hospital, who helped make an awful situation so much better for our whole family. We were so appreciative of what they did for him so were really pleased to be able to do something in return.

“The jump itself was absolutely brilliant. I would definitely do it again!”

Among the hospital staff to complete the jump were a four-strong team from diagnostic imaging, who raised well over £2,000 in memory of much-loved colleague Dr Bob Nightingale, a consultant radiologist at the hospital who sadly passed away earlier this year.

“Bob was much loved and a hugely respected colleague, and had worked at the hospital for many years and made a lot of friends,” said radiology sister Judith Shanks, who jumped alongside radiographers Tanbira Lubana, Sabina Begum and consultant radiologist Patrick Whitear.

“We were so grateful for the support we received from our colleagues – the fact that we were jumping in Bob’s memory really captured their imaginations and they all put their hands in their pockets to help out, which was great.

“All four of us were so proud to be able to do the jump for Bob. We had a brilliant time doing it and felt it was a real bonding experience.”

Everyone who jumped was able to choose which department they raised money for, with the general fund, John Le Vay Cancer Information Centre, Rushmere Day Unit, critical care, ENT and the baby bereavement group among those who benefitted.