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Trio run for West Suffolk Hospital Butterfly Appeal




A family have helped to boost the funds of a newly-launched appeal for end-of-life patients at West Suffolk Hospital.

Matthew Bland, his sister Natalie Ridgeon and brother-in-law Ben Ridgeon took part in the King’s Forest Marathon, at West Stow, helping to raise a total of £2,578.75 for the campaign which is aimed at building a special garden area at the hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

The trio took part in the event following the treatment given to Matthew and Natalie’s 73-year-old father Paul Bland, from Stowmarket, who was treated for prostate cancer.

Ben and Natalie Ridgeon, Paul Bland and his wife Ann, Matthew Bland, Deirdre Brown and Tony Ruffles at the hospital.
Ben and Natalie Ridgeon, Paul Bland and his wife Ann, Matthew Bland, Deirdre Brown and Tony Ruffles at the hospital.

He was diagnosed in April and completed his treatment in September and is now in remission.

When the trio said they were planning to run the marathon they asked him if there was a charity he wanted them to support. He suggested My WiSH, which supports the work of the hospital, and the charity put forward the idea of running in aid of the appeal.

Thirty-nine-year-old Matthew, who lives in Ixworth, and is a lecturer at Cambridge University, said: “The marathon is etched on my memory and we did a lot of training in the run up to it in October. It was quite a mild day but was pretty muddy on the route. We were making pretty good time but Ben hurt his knee towards the end but we all managed to cross the line together.”

He said Ben, 38, and Natalie, 31, who both live in Stowmarket, managed to complete the distance with him in six hours.

Meanwhile, Matthew’s father-in-law Tony Ruffles and his partner Dierdre Brown, who both live in Bardwell, raised £600 towards the total from an annual treasure hunt round Norfolk.

The couple also made a special frame for the appeal.

The Butterfly Garden will be an exclusive private area so patients can spend their final days or hours with their loved ones.

The vision is to create a garden with a glass-fronted building which will be able to accommodate a patient in their bed.

One of the main features of the project will be an area for children to be able to play, pets can visit and memories can be made.

To support the appeal go to justgiving.com/campaign/butterfly or call 01284 713466. If you are a business and want My WiSH to be your charity of the year call SallyDaniels or Sue Smith and they can arrange to come and have a chat.


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