Walkers brave the cold to help raise vital funds for the Rocky Appeal

QA Hospital ward raises £340 for fracture service

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IT might have been unseasonably chilly, but that didn’t stop fundraisers getting out to walk for the Rocky Appeal.

The annual event, now in its third year, set off from Eastney Swimming Pool to the delight of appeal chairman Mick Lyons.

Mick Lyons leads a group of walkers from Eastney to Old Portsmouth during a charity walk to raise money for the Rocky Appeal at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (150800-1)

Mick Lyons leads a group of walkers from Eastney to Old Portsmouth during a charity walk to raise money for the Rocky Appeal at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150800-1)

He said: ‘It is a great way for people to get involved and to help the appeal and get to see the seafront.

‘The walk allows us to widen our group of friends within the appeal.’

With donations from £20 to £350, walkers raised vital funds for the Da Vinci robot.

Mr Lyons said: ‘We have so far raised £800,000 but we need £2.4m so that the machine isn’t taken away.’

Chairman of the League of Friends Jan Spear was one of those taking part in the walk.

She said: ‘It’s good event as people raise money for charity and it keeps them active.

‘It’s amazing how generous people have been and it’s great to get together.’

As the walk wasn’t timed it gave participants the chance to take their time and reach the final place of the Still & West in Old Portsmouth.

Ms Spear said: ‘We stopped off for coffee so we could take a break and warm up.’

The League of Friends has previously helped the Rocky Appeal as it gave them £130,000 in donations.

The event attracted some familiar faces which have attended the event each year.

Christine Pylee, who took part in the walk last year said: ‘It’s a social event and it is good fun.

‘It’s nice that we have given back to the hospital.’

Others only signed up this year but are already looking forward to the next walk.

Janice Lilley from Fareham was one of those first-timers.

She said: ‘I got in touch with Mick about coming to talk to the Women’s Institute in Fareham and he mentioned the walk.

‘I then asked all the women at the WI to sponsor me which was great as we all came together to raise money.’

She joined the walk with friends from Fareham WI.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, acquired the Da Vinci robot in May 2013. It can perform keyhole surgery and is controlled by consultants who can see inside a patient more clearly via a console.

QA is the only hospital in the area to have the robot and the only one in the country using it for five disciplines.

‘The QA and a hospital in London are only the ones in the country that have these machines,’ said Mr Lyons.

The walk also gave the Queen Alexandra League of Friends the chance to help out the appeal and raise money for other areas of the hospital.