THOUSANDS of pounds has been raised by a charity walk for a surgical robot at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Around 40 people took part in the five-mile walk to fundraise for the Da Vinci robot used for keyhole surgery.
The annual event sees former patients and their families and staff from QA Hospital, in Cosham, walk from Eastney to Old Portsmouth.
It has been organised by Rocky Appeal co-ordinator Mick Lyons.
He said: ‘This walk is one of our main events and we normally raise about £12,000 from it.
‘We still have a long way to go to pay off the robot, but it is because of the people like those walking that we have raised so much already.
‘It is great to see people coming down to support the robot and many have taken part in the walk before.
‘It shows just how important it is to the city.’
One of those to have supported it previously is Chris Farrar, from North End. She was taking part after her husband was operated on using the robot after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.
She said: ‘I know first-hand just how important this robot it.
‘I wanted to do something to give back to the hospital.
‘I did the walk last year and it was really good so I was keen to do it again.’
A group of friends from a yoga group in Bedhampton and Cowplain also took part.
Chris Sharpe said: ‘I am an ex-nursing sister so I like to support the hospital and its appeals.
‘We have all done it previously and it is nice to do it as a group.
‘Having seen the robot and what it can do, we were really keen to raise as much money for it as we can.’
As previously reported in The News, the Rocky Appeal is hoping to raise the remaining £725,000 needed.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA Hospital, is leasing the robot from American firm Intuitive Surgical, which owns it.
Kelvin Thorne, from Fareham, knows Mick and was keen to show his support for the robot by doing the walk.
He said: ‘This is such an important piece of machinery. I am doing my small part to help keep it at QA and available for people in Portsmouth.’