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Newbury man walks the Ridgeway to support Southampton General Hospital

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A Newbury grandfather has walked the Ridgeway to raise money for the hospital ward that looked after his granddaughter, writes Emma Cole.

Robin Busby, aged 74, of St. John’s Road, Newbury, walked 87 miles along the Ridgeway to raise money for Families at Ocean Ward, a parent-led charity supporting children with heart conditions and their families who have been or are treated on Ocean Ward in Southampton General Hospital.

His granddaughter Esme was born on November 6, 2019, with heart complications and spent a lot of time on Ocean ward – and will continue to do so as she needs a pacemaker for her whole life.

Robin Busby with his granddaughter Esme Taheny and her mother Charlotte Busby
Robin Busby with his granddaughter Esme Taheny and her mother Charlotte Busby

Mr Busby said: “It was a great challenge for an even more important cause.

“The charity is so supportive and helps families through such a difficult time.

“It really is a lovely little ward and we are extremely grateful to everyone on it.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, it was great fun.”

Mr Busby started his walk on May 17 at Ivinghoe Beacon and walked for 18.5 miles over 10 hours in thunder, lightning and hail.

He was accompanied by family for some sections of the route and he completed the walk at Avebury Circle on Sunday – his 74th birthday.

So far Mr Busby has raised more than £3,500 for the charity.

His daughter Robyn Hedger said: “This has been a challenge for my dad. The first few days especially, when my older brother and sister joined him, doing 18.5 miles in the first day, were incredibly hard with numerous hills in the hail, thunder, and rain.

"So we are so proud of him and this challenge.”

The Ridgeway trail is known as England’s oldest road, dating back to the Neolithic period.

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