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Dedicated hospital trustee goes over the edge for charity

13 April 2018


Local businessman Philip Miller is planning to overcome his fear of heights when he steps off the top of Southend Hospital’s tower block on Saturday 12 May.

Philip, one of the original founder trustees of Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation, is hoping that his noble venture will raise a few thousand pounds for the hospital's 20th Anniversary £500,000 For Wards Appeal to finance 20 transformational projects.

He said: "The hospital is a cause that connects all of Southend, so it was not a tough decision to make."

Despite being executive chairman of the Stockvale Group - which includes the seafront Adventure Island - Philip admits he has had a lifelong fear of heights and thinks he must have had a 'rush of blood to the head' when he signed up for this year's Tackle the Tower abseil challenge - to negotiate a 154ft sheer  drop down nine floors.

"I signed up before I had a chance to think about it too long. Once you are committed there is no turning back."

His sister was a ward sister at Southend - at the time the youngest ward sister in the country - and Philip is hugely grateful for the care he himself received ten years ago when he was treated for blood poisoning.

"I was very ill and they saved my life. Everyone knows somebody who has been treated at the hospital."

He already has £1,000 in sponsorship and hopes to add considerably to that before the big day.

Born and bred in Southend, Philip was nominated to become a charity trustee at its inception after the death of Ernie Lockhart - dubbed Mr Carnival - who raised huge amounts of money for the hospital and other local charities.

Philip said: "Ernie was a friend of mine and my dad's and we used to help him. His death had an impact on the funds received by the hospital. I was very flattered to be nominated. Our first job was to get the leukaemia unit built."

If you would like to join Philip at the top on the tower, please contact fundraising@southend.nhs.uk for further details. There's a £40 entry fee plus £100 minimum sponsorship.