Man afraid of heights to wing walk for NHS staff

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image captionGary Trigg has raised more than £10,000 for a commemorative garden at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

A 67-year-old man with a fear of heights is planning a sponsored wing walk to raise funds for a hospital garden after surviving Covid-19.

Gary Trigg spent 51 days on a ventilator at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH) in 2020.

So far he has raised more than £10,000 to help pay for a garden to thank NHS staff and remember lives lost during the pandemic.

In total £70,000 has been raised for the garden which opened in April.

image copyrightGary Trigg
image captionMr Trigg spent 51 days in a coma with Covid-19

Mr Trigg, from Cinderford in the Forest of Dean, will take on the wing walk on 22 May at RFC Rendcomb Airfield.

Despite being used to working on grounded planes, the retired aircraft engineer is not looking forward to the challenge.

"I couldn't even walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge due to fear of heights but I'm putting myself out of my comfort zone just like the NHS staff put themselves out of theirs every day," he said.

"I can't thank them enough for what they did for me. A million pounds wouldn't be enough."

He was taken to hospital on 23 April 2020 as he had been experiencing severe diarrhoea and then collapsed at home.

Despite not having the traditional symptoms, he tested positive for Covid-19, spent almost ten weeks in a coma and barely remembers any of his hospital stay.

image captionWire dandelions in the garden are to thank NHS staff and remember those who died from Covid-19
image captionThe garden opened in April thanks to £70,000 in donations

The garden was part funded by the Dandelion Appeal, which is ongoing.

People can give a suggested donation of £25 or more for a wire dandelion to be placed in the garden with a special message to either a loved one lost to Covid-19 or a thank you to NHS staff.

Since opening, the garden has become a quiet place for hospital staff and those who are bereaved.

Dr Hina Iftikhar, chief registrar at GRH, said: "It's incredibly important for families and friends of loved ones lost to Covid-19 have a space where they can visit and reflect.

"The pandemic has taken its toll on so many of us and in such different ways.

"Many of my colleagues both here in our hospitals and in the community have had the most challenging of times."

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