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Father to walk from London to Ashford in just one day for the East Kent Hospitals Charity

By Georgia Woolf

A dedicated dad is preparing to complete a 73-mile walk in just 24 hours to raise money for the hospital unit which cared for his premature child.

Jon Whetlor, along with a team of friends, are set to walk from his birthplace in west London to the William Harvey next month to collect cash for the East Kent Hospitals Charity.

Jon and his wife Lisa endured months of uncertainty after their daughter Matilda spent 108 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after being born prematurely in October 2016.

Jon Whetlor with his family (4057638)
Jon Whetlor with his family (4057638)

Their only child, who is now two years old, weighed just 1lb 6oz when she was born at 23 weeks and six days.

Mr Whetlor, who works as a builder and lives in Sevington, says staff at the NICU worked wonders.

“Matilda was the smallest baby I have ever seen and would easily fit into one hand,” he said.

The William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. Picture: Martin Apps
The William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. Picture: Martin Apps

“The circumference of her foot was smaller than my little finger and she didn’t have any eyelids she was so premature.

“But 108 days later and Matilda was ready to go home weighing a whopping 5lb.

“The NICU is a world that you wouldn’t know exists unless you or someone you know has been part of it.

Jon and Lisa Whetlor with their daughter Matilda. Picture: Jon Whetlor (4181273)
Jon and Lisa Whetlor with their daughter Matilda. Picture: Jon Whetlor (4181273)

“To see Matilda grow and be cared for from the tiny baby she was to when we left was unreal and I cannot thank everyone involved enough at the hospital.

“The work of every single person from the NICU made it possible for our little bruiser Matilda to be with us today.”

The group will set off from the Hillingdon Hospital in Uxbridge on Saturday October, 20, taking a route that passes by several major landmarks, including Buckingham Palace and London Bridge.

They will begin the challenge at 10am and are aiming to arrive at the William Harvey on Sunday, October 21 by 10am.

Dubbed the Tiny Toes Trek, it is predicted it will take 26 hours for the team to reach Ashford, so they are planning to jog and run to reach their goal of getting to the hospital in just one day.

A cake sale will be held at the William Harvey from 10am to midday on Sunday October, 21 to celebrate the group’s achievement.

So far, Mr Whetlor - who described the walk as his “toughest challenge” - has raised £365 of his £2,000 target.

He will take on the challenge with friends Jody Dalton, Adam Casey, Adam Goodman, Stevie Denton, Stuart Scoates and James Sayers.

To donate, click here.

Alternatively, text ijog73£1 or £2, £5, £10, £20 to 70070

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