Portsmouth’s hospital heroes hailed as 2019 Ward Walk brings out tales of the extraordinary

WITHOUT the crucial, often life-saving work of our city’s hospitals the future – and the past – would look so different for many people.

Sunday, 19th May 2019, 10:22 pm
Friends and supporters take part in the Queen Alexandra Hospital ward walk at Staunton Country Park. (l to r), Picture: Ian Hargreaves (190519-11)

That message echoed around Staunton Country Park in Havant yesterday as 200 families, couples and Good Samaritans united for a sponsored walk in aid of the Portsmouth Hospitals Charity. 

Dubbed the Ward Walk, the fresh-air fundraiser strolled into its fourth year – giving people touched by Portsmouth’s healthcare professionals the chance to give back. 

Money raised by walkers, expected to exceed £10,000, will go to a host of Portsmouth hospital units of their choice – including those at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham. 

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Friends and supporters take part in the Queen Alexandra Hospital ward walk at Staunton Country Park. (l to r), Picture: Ian Hargreaves (190519-11)

Colin Welborn travelled to the event from Petersfield to show his appreciation after an operation with QA’s da Vinci Robot saved his life. 

‘I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in March 2017 and had some initial treatment that didn’t work, because of the way my immune system responded,’ the 64-year-old said. 

‘I was given 15 to 18 months to live before doctors at QA conducted an operation with the da Vinci Robot. 

‘I now have a stoma bag for life, but without that I’d be in a mortuary, it’s as simple as that.’ 

Friends and supporters take part in the Queen Alexandra Hospital ward walk at Staunton Country Park. (l to r), Picture: Ian Hargreaves (190519-10)

After an energetic group warm-up at 10.15am, participants set off to enjoy the walk, which was 5km or 10km dependent on their choosing. 

Stroke sufferer Sally-Anne Gates, 51 from Paulsgrove, took on the 5km using her walker. 

Her brother Alan had been a regular patient at QA Hospital's Renal Department and was on dialysis for most of his adult life, before he died aged 61 on March 7, 2016. 

‘The unit was brilliant to the family because they not only cared for him, but looked out for us too,’ said Sally-Anne. 

Friends and supporters take part in the Queen Alexandra Hospital ward walk at Staunton Country Park. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (190519-3)

‘I think QA can get a bad press so I came here today to highlight how good they were. 

‘The hospital is absolutely vital to our city and I wanted to show my support.’ 

It was Alison Thomas’ first time at the Ward Walk too, following the death of her husband David in January after a year-long battle against colon cancer. 

‘Originally we were told when he was first diagnosed we’d be lucky if we got a month with him,' said Alison, 63 from Droxford. 

Friends and supporters take part in the Queen Alexandra Hospital ward walk at Staunton Country Park. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (190519-2)

‘But we got a very good consultant, he got radiotherapy, then chemotherapy every two weeks and we got that extra year.

‘I’m determined to volunteer on the ward soon.’