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Sylvia Birch overcomes two hip replacements to conquer Howrah Bridge for WIN


On Christmas day 2019, Sylvia Birch braced herself to walk the length of Howrah Bridge, Kolkata, to raise money for our charity and shine a spotlight on our cause. Sylvia is a fervent supporter of ours and has been sponsoring two children in the charity’s care for the last five years, significantly easing the financial burden in their lives by funding their access to medical care and education. “I have for many years been supportive of a charity in India run by a formidable English woman, Leah Pattison. I am especially supportive of two young girls, Ananya and Gauri, and their fight against aids. They are at school and, with the drugs I help to provide, doing well.”

A few years ago, she heard a story that inspired her to do even more to help those who weren’t born with the same privileges as her. “Some years past, I read the story of a rickshaw boy who was born, lived and died on the Howrah Bridge. The story affected me very much in showing to me both the injustices in the world, and how fortunate and kind life has been to me.” Sylvia overcame some battles of her own to embark on this journey for us, beating two hip replacements and not letting a walking stick dependency hold her back. Unfortunately, the pain in her legs was just too overwhelming to complete the tough journey on this particular day, but after a few days of rest and a dose of pain killers, Sylvia conquered all 2,323ft of the bridge on the 29th of December.

Raising over £300 for Women In Need and doubling it, she’s an inspiration to us all, especially her son, who was with her every step of the way. “Sylvia conquered the Howrah Bridge, walking unaided - other than the use of two sticks and a welcome arm rest - the full length, 2,323 ft of the busiest bridge in the world - carrying daily 100,000 cars and 150,000 pedestrians. Very pleased to have raised over £300 towards Women in Need and the continuing support of Ananya and Gauri with their fight against AIDS. Thank you all for your tremendous support. Personal thanks will be sent out from the bridge walker once home and rested from the adventure. Bring on the next bridge!“

Thank you Sylvia for everything you’ve done and continue to do for us. We hope that Sylvia’s story of fortitude and kindness has a ripple effect, inspiring others to try to overcome what holds them back, in the name of a charity they’re passionate about.


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