• Editor

Teenager walking the walk to raise money for young HHFT patients


A FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD aspiring neonatal nurse is embarking on a virtual marathon walk from one end of the country to the other to raise money for the youngest patients in local hospitals.

Bracken Henderson is walking the length of the UK, the 874 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, in just nine months to raise money for Hampshire Hospitals Charity (HHC) for the neonatal units at both Basingstoke and Winchester hospital.

The teenager, from Rooksdown, Basingstoke, was inspired to raise money after her younger brother George, who is now three, was born with jaundice and was cared for on the neonatal unit at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

Bracken, who attends The Hurst School, in Baughurst, said: “When we visited my brother on the neonatal unit for the first time, I realised that I wanted to work for the NHS and help other babies in similar positions.

“I rang my mum when we got home and told her I want to be a neonatal nurse, and I’ve been working towards this ever since through my studies.

“Obviously I can’t be a neonatal nurse just yet, but I want to do what I can to help at the moment, which is why I’ve decided to take on this fundraising challenge.

“I’m really excited to push myself and raise as much money as I can because I want to help the babies and their families.”

Joined by her mum, Louise Henderson, who also works at Basingstoke hospital, which is run by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), Bracken will be walking around Basingstoke, and other areas of the UK, to tally up 874 miles in total.

Louise said: “I’m unbelievably proud of Bracken and she has been the driving force behind it all. She really is an inspiration to us all at such a young age, while also studying for her mock exams in a few weeks.

“All of the staff were incredible when caring for George and now we want to give back and help where we can.”

So far, Bracken has walked 49 miles and raised over £250 in less than a month.

She has received a flurry of support from friends, families and staff at the hospital, including chief executive of HHFT and trustee of HHC Alex Whitfield, who said: “When I first heard about Bracken and her fundraising challenge, I was extremely impressed. Bracken has the trust’s full support behind her on her journey and we all want to wish her good luck.”

To support Bracken in her fundraising journey, you can donate by visiting https://bit.ly/3KgHbUx. If you are eligible to, please remember to tick the Gift Aid box as this will add 25 per cent to every donation you make.

You can also follow ‘Brackens 874 mile walk for Hampshire Hospitals neonatal units’ page on Facebook for updates.

HHC raises money to support local HHFT NHS hospital heroes in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, and the patients they care for. Every pound donated helps the charity to provide enhanced care and support for staff and patients, including funding health and wellbeing support for those working on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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