Braving roof jump for sake of baby unit
MORE than 100 adrenaline junkies are preparing to launch themselves from the roof of Yeovil District Hospital to raise money for charity.
The 118 daredevils will be taking the plunge on Saturday in aid of the Flying Colours Appeal for a new special care baby unit (SCBU).
The charity is working to raise £500,000 for a new unit to provide more space and privacy for families with premature and poorly new babies.
Taking part in the 100ft abseil is Juliet Sturgess with her 63-year-old father and her stepdaughters Megan and Alice. The family are taking part in the challenge to say thank you to the hospital after the birth of her daughter Rebecca last year.
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Also joining the challenge is Stephen Bayley who will be doing the jump dressed as a baby. He wanted to support the appeal after his sister's baby was born two months premature. The baby had to be taken to Taunton as there were no facilities available at the time in Yeovil.
Lucy McIntosh, who volunteers for charities despite suffering from a mystery illness that left her fighting for her life, is also taking part.
She said: "My older brother and cousin both spent lots of time in SCBU so I want to give something back.
"I would like to do this abseil in honour of my cousin Sinead who passed away last week."
And Teresa Samuel is taking on the challenge as a thank you to the hospital. Her 19-year-old son Michael was given 48 hours to live when he was diagnosed with pancreatitis over New Year. But after hard work from doctors he pulled through.
Teresa said: "I'm absolutely petrified of heights but I know I'll be fine because nothing can scare me as much as when I thought I was going to lose my son."
Alex Burwood is helping the cause after needing the SCBU in Yeovil when his daughter was born five-and-a-half weeks' premature. He is being joined in the challenge by father-in-law John Knight and daughter's godfather Dean Webber.
Lee and Natalie Mapletoft are taking part after two of their nephews, a niece and a godson, were born premature and needed SCBU care.
The couple said: "The charity is very close to our hearts because of this, and we wanted to raise as much as we can."
After the birth of her granddaughter, Sarah Ilott is also scaling the walls. She said: "My granddaughter was born four weeks early and spent a week in special care in Catterick. I have heard about the fantastic job they did there and I know our team here are just as brilliant."
Another to have seen the importance of the SCBU is Sara Gill. She said: "My little brother was in SCBU eight years ago and they saved his life three times. The staff in there are fantastic."
A team from Yarlington Housing are also taking part after choosing the appeal as their charity of the year.
Rachel Napper, Jo Thompson and Erin Skeels have so fair raised more than £600. Jo said: "Since signing up to do the abseil I sadly lost my grandad, he knew about the abseil and would have loved to have been able to see us complete our challenge.
"My grandma has kindly decided that all donations from his funeral will be donated to the Flying Colours Appeal, an overwhelming gesture that makes this challenge all the more special."
Mark Woolmington, Martin Hind, Julie Cousins and Carol Garrett, of Ramp Industries are also set to scale the hospital's heights.
Mr Woolmington said: "My son Archie would not be here without the help and support of the wonderful staff."
A team from the Cottage Brewing Company of Lovington is also heading for the hospital roof. They will also be joined by locals Ian Fawcett, Pipa Moger, Faye Abram and Aaron Stainslox.