THEY’RE swapping operating theatres for the thrill of an epic river challenge.
Eleven medical staff from Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, have been training for the past four months to take part in a gruelling water fundraiser.
They will be canoeing 100 miles down the River Wye in just four days – all to raise money for The Rowans Hospice.
The idea has come from from Andy Jones, who works as a healthcare assistant at QA.
He has rallied together a team of 16 people – 11 taking part in the canoeing and five to make up the support team.
Andy, 46, said: ‘We have done the three peaks challenge before and I decided to do something different and a little harder.
‘That’s when I came up with this idea.’
The team, which will be split between two Canadian canoes and seven kayaks, have been training at the Hilsea Lido every week for the past few months with help from the Adventure College, based in Hilsea.
‘A lot of us are novices at this, and it showed as the first time we got into the water we capsized and sank,’ added Andy.
‘It made us realise this wasn’t going to be a holiday, but a pretty big challenge.’
Andy has set himself a big fundraising target of £10,000 to raise for The Rowans Hospice, in Purbrook. The team has raised £6,500 so far.
His mother Margaret Jones died from ovarian cancer 18 months ago, aged 69.
Andy, 46, said: ‘My mother was suddenly taken ill 18 months ago while she had been going on a holiday to London.
‘She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and we knew it had got to quite a stage.
‘She wanted to pass away at home, but she was too ill so went into the Rowans.
‘My mother stayed there for about four weeks, but it was going downhill.
‘But the Rowans looked after her so well, they were amazing.
‘Working in a theatre, you deal with illnesses like cancer and even deal with death.
‘At the Rowans it was a different way of seeing those things.
‘My mother loved the hospice and that’s why we’re passionate about raising the money for them.’
Lesley Woodcock, community fundraiser for the hospice, said: ‘This is an amazing team challenge organised by Andy in memory of his mother, which Andy and his colleagues from QA are undertaking to raise money for The Rowans Hospice.’
We wish them the best of luck and fair weather and thank them for their support.’
The team set off on their challenge on September 22.
For more information, or to donate money, go to qatheatreschallenge2012.webs.com