A BIG-HEARTED Woking mum’s was finally able to hand over a massive £5,000 donation to a unit at St Peter’s Hospital on Thursday.
So impressed with the staff on Heron Ward for saving her mum’s life, Natalie Bowden took a leap into the unknown in more ways than one.
And after a busy year of fundraising, she was at last able to hand over her sizeable collection.
Natalie said: “On behalf of myself and my mum, I want to thank you and the other surgeons, Mr Ali, and in particular Mr Cleanthis so much for saving her life.
“I want to thank all the St Peter’s staff – they have been just amazing.
“I’d also like to wish Marcus, who is sadly leaving, well at Frimley Park Hospital.”
New to the fundraising game but desperate to give something back, hairdresser Natalie, 44, set up a campaign to haul in £5,000 to buy the unit a vital secondhand ultrasound machine.
Natalie’s mum Wendy Elliot, who’s 72 and has lived in Horsell for 30 years, has arterial vascular disease and has had six operations including bypasses and angioplasty. She has also been fitted with synthetic arteries – and all thanks to the skilled surgical vascular team in one of the most advanced units of its kind in the country.
First on Natalie’s agenda was to draft up sponsorship to throw herself out of an aeroplane at 12,000ft – that’s almost two-and-a-half miles! – in a debut sky dive.
The mum of two’s leap into the unknown in May at 120mph, along with family friend Carl Street, raised a massive £2,400. In June Natalie and friends Tracy Street, Sam Allen, Leslie Sims, Debbie Bull, Emma Aherne, rallied round to organise a huge family fun bash at Nicky Nelson’s pub The Plough Inn in Horsell, opened by Woking Mayor Anne Roberts.
It pulled in more than 400 punters, including St Peter’s surgeons Kieran Dawson, Marcus Cleanthis and Tahir Ali, Horsell Community Choir, Council leader John Kingsbury, MP Jonathan Lord with his daughter Katie. And well-known artist Peter Clark pitched up to donate two valuable prints for auction as well as a substantial cheque.
Imagine her relief when Natalie hit her target. She added: “I would like to thank all my friends who helped out, and my husband Simon and children, Paige and Jake, for all their support throughout this.”
Natalie handed over the cheque for £5,000 to hospital consultant Kieran Dawson last week.