Marathon runners help to boost the funds of the Butterfly Appeal

The trio of close family members Matthew Bland along with his sister Natalie Ridgeon and brother-in-law Ben Ridgeon have helped to boost the funds of a recently launched appeal for end-of-life patients at the West Suffolk Hospital.

For they took part in the King’s Forest Marathon, at West Stow, helping to raise a total of £2,578.75 for the Butterfly Appeal which is aimed at building a special garden area at the hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

They took part in the event following the treatment given to Matthew and Natalie’s 73-year-old father Paul Bland, who lives in Stowmarket, and who was treated for prostate cancer.

He was diagnosed in April and completed his treatment in September and is now in remission. When the trio said they were planning to run the marathon they asked him if there was a charity he wanted them to support.

He suggested My WiSH, which supports the work of the hospital, and the charity put forward the idea of running in aid of the appeal.

Thirty-nine-year-old Matthew, who lives in Ixworth, and is a lecturer at Cambridge University, said: “The marathon is etched on my memory and we did a lot of training in the run up to it in October. It was quite a mild day but was pretty muddy on the route. We were making pretty good time but Ben hurt his knee towards the end but we all managed to cross the line together.”

He said Ben, 38, and Natalie, 31, who both live in Stowmarket, managed to complete the distance with him in six hours.

Meanwhile, Matthew’s father-in-law Tony Ruffles and his partner Dierdre Brown, who both live in Bardwell, raised £600 towards the total from an annual treasure hunt round Norfolk. The couple also made a special frame for the appeal.

The Butterfly Appeal is aimed at creating the Butterfly Garden as an exclusive private area so patients can spend some of their final days or hours with their loved ones.

The vision is to create a garden with a glass-fronted building which will be able to accommodate a patient in their bed. The area will allow the patient and their loved ones to spend quality time together, away from the hustle and bustle of the wards, as they prepare to say goodbye. It will provide an area for quiet contemplation, peaceful reflection and privacy for all.

One of the main features of the project will be an area for children to be able to play, pets can visit and memories to treasure can be made at one of the most vulnerable time of patient’s lives.

There will be calming light, music, a TV; everything needed to make it a comfortable environment for all.

To support the appeal go to or call 01284 713466. If you are a business and want My WiSH to be your charity of the year call Sally or Sue and they can arrange to come and have a chat.

Pictured above at the West Suffolk Hospital are Ben and Natalie Ridgeon, Paul Bland and his wife Ann, Matthew Bland, Deirdre Brown and Tony Ruffles.

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