Bridlington mum climbs mountain in battle to save heart unit

Kelly Nalton and Michelle Stoddard reach the summit of Ben Nevis.
Kelly Nalton and Michelle Stoddard reach the summit of Ben Nevis.

A MOTHER campaigning to save the town’s nearest children’s heart unit has shown that she is not ready to give up the fight by scaling the UK’s highest mountain.

Despite health bosses having decided early last month to axe the children’s cardiac unit at Leeds General Hospital, Kelly Nalton, of Waterdale Close, is determined not to give up the fight.

This was illustrated when Kelly, whose two-year-old daughter Laiela was saved by surgeons at the unit, and friend Michelle Stoddard climbed Ben Nevis in aid of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) and the Sick Children’s Trust.

“It was harder going up, Michelle and I found it was the breathing more than anything that was difficult because of the lack of air as you got higher up,” said Kelly.

But the daring duo completed the ascent in just over three hours and enjoyed a celebratory drink at the top cheered on by a group of hikers which included Toby Taylor, of Bridlington.

“When we got to the top they cheered and when we got to the bottom they cheered, they just made us feel so special,” Kelly added.

Kelly has thanked everyone for their continued support and the fund-raising is not over yet with a football tournament taking place at the Bridlington Sports and Community Club (BSCC) this Sunday, August 26.

Next month will see a bag pack at Tesco as well as a collection around town on September 29.

The money raised through sponsorship will be added to the £1,500 so far raised by Kelly and her supporters.

And the CHSF need the support more now than ever before after they vowed to fight the decision to close the unit at Leeds in the courts if necessary, after launching their Fighting Fund, something which Kelly has called on the people of Bridlington to back.

The decision means that children and their families from Bridlington and across the East Riding will have to travel to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital for life-saving treatment.

NHS chiefs say the decision, which will see the number of heart surgery units across the country cut from 10 to seven, will improve the quality of care for children with congenital heart disease.

But Sharon Cheng, CHSF director, said: “This decision is not something we are prepared to accept and will continue to fight the decision on behalf of our parents, patients and staff.

“We are currently appealing to ministers to overturn this decision but if this is rejected we have no option other than to seek a judicial review.”

Last month almost 3,000 people attended a peaceful demonstration in Leeds to express their outcry at the decision.

Kelly has urged everyone to get behind the campaign and support the Fighting Fund, further details of which are available at www.chsf.org.uk