Challenges to benefit West Suffolk Hospital

Natasha Bill with her father, Stephen, who she will be doing a wing walk in memory of
Natasha Bill with her father, Stephen, who she will be doing a wing walk in memory of

A hospital consultant and a pre-school worker are embarking on fund-raising challenges in aid of a Bury St Edmunds charity.

On Sunday Soren Sjolin, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at West Suffolk Hospital, set off to cycle 11,000 miles across Italy, from Palermo in Sicily to Como in Lombardy, climbing up to 77,000ft.

Natasha Bill is doing a wing walk next month in aid of My Wish Charity

Natasha Bill is doing a wing walk next month in aid of My Wish Charity

The challenge will see him meet up with around 10 others, including members of the West Suffolk Wheelers, with whom he regularly rides at weekends, and cyclists from Italy and America.

The 62-year-old, of Fornham St Martin, is due to fly home on June 25 after completing the gruelling task in aid of the My Wish Charity which supports the hospital in Hardwick Lane, and its Arthrose Appeal which aims to raise funds for the fracture, orthopaedic and trauma clinics.

“It’s going to be tough but we are determined to complete the route, although there is a lot of climbing to be done,” he said, adding that the group had had kits made in Italian blue which featured the national flags of all involved.

To support Mr Sjolin, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Soren-Sjolin.

Natasha Bill, meanwhile, is preparing to do a wing walk next month in aid of the My Wish Charity, targeting funds towards the hospital’s Macmillan unit, which cared for her late father.

The 22-year-old, who works as a Level Two practitioner at Little Teapots Pre School in Chedburgh, got the idea for the stunt from a conversation she had with her father, Stephen, while he was in hospital.

He suffered from bladder cancer, an illness which spread to other parts of his body, and died eight months ago, at the age of 59.

“It was one Sunday lunchtime when I was talking to my dad and the wing walk came up which was something quite different and it seemed right that I should do it,” said Miss Bill.

Praising the support her father received from the hospital, she said he was ‘comfortable’ and ‘could not have asked for more from them’.

Miss Bill plans to compete her challenge on July 23, setting off from Damyns Hall Airfield, in Essex, and has already raised more than £4,300, money she would mostly like to see spent on books to help children understand their relatives’ cancer.

To boost her fund-raising total, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephenbill.