BONUS cash was raised for Queen Alexandra Hospital as fundraisers put their best foot forward to tackle a charity stroll along the coast.
About 30 people rallied at Eastney seafront to join the Rocky Appeal’s annual trek, which for the past few years had been raising cash to keep the Da Vinci Robot, which performs keyhole surgery at the Cosham hospital.
However, just days before today’s event, the hospital revealed the news that the six-year campaign to pay for the hi-tech surgical robot had been a success, raising the £2.4m needed to keep it in the city.
It meant the cash raised during the five-mile trek would be pumped back into other departments in the hospital – coming as a bonus for QA.
Mick Lyons, co-ordinator of the appeal, was thrilled by the support and said the latest trek had a great feeling to it.
‘The support in Portsmouth has been wonderful,’ he said. ‘To raise that money is a great achievement.
‘People never know when they might need to use the hospital to save themselves or someone in their family. So now all the money from today can be donated to whatever department people want.’
Participants trekked from Eastney to the Still and West pub, in Old Portsmouth. Among those in the group were sisters Sharon Stephens, 55, of Paulsgrove, and Kim Brown, 52, of Stamshaw.
It was a big moment for Kim, who in February had keyhole surgery at QA to remove her gallbladder. She said: ‘This is the first exercise I have done since the operation. I’m feeling good about it though.’
Sharon added: ‘QA is amazing. The Da Vinci Robot is a brilliant machine.’
Members of Bedhampton and Cowplain yoga clubs also joined the trek. Yoga instructor Christine Sharpe, herself a retired nurse who trained at QA, said: ‘This is something so close to our hearts. You never know when you might need the help of the hospital.’
The walk took about two hours and is expected to raise thousands of pounds.