An abseil down a 262ft tall building has kick-started an appeal to raise half a million pounds for a new cardiac centre at West Suffolk Hospital.

East Anglian Daily Times: WSH Every Heart Matters campaign logoWSH Every Heart Matters campaign logo (Image: Archant)

The Every Heart Matters fundraising drive - the biggest ever undertaken by the hospital’s My WiSH charity - will support a £5.7million project to improve cardiac services in Bury St Edmunds.

The appeal, which is being backed by the East Anglian Daily Times and its sister Mercury titles was officially launched last month by Newmarket jockey Frankie Dettori.

Funds are already starting to come in with We Love Bury St Edmunds website owner James Sheen raising £760 from an abseil down the ArcelorMittal Orbit at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London - despite his fear of heights.

He was one of 29 people who were set the challenge to abseil down the structure along with other West Suffolk Hospital staff and supporters of My WiSH charity.

East Anglian Daily Times: James Sheen at Olympic Park where he completed an abseil for the Every Heart Matters appealJames Sheen at Olympic Park where he completed an abseil for the Every Heart Matters appeal (Image: Archant)

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is investing £5.2m in developing a state-of-the-art cardiac suite at the hospital that will provide quicker access to more treatments. But the £500,000 My WiSH is hoping to raise will lead to the whole unit, which is currently fragmented on different floors, being brought together in one purpose-built centre.

Mr Sheen’s efforts were particularly poignant as his mother Marjorie, now 90, had to undergo a triple heart bypass at Papworth Hospital in 2010. He said it would be great to have the cardiac centre up and running in his home town to save people in the area having to make longer journeys for the specialist treatment.

The 53-year-old, from Cotton Lane, said the abseil was “not as scary” as he thought it would be in spite of his “real problem with heights”.

He added: “I thought I’m up here now and I just want to get on with it but I was totally out of my comfort zone and I can’t believe I’ve done it. But I really loved it and it was amazing.

“I know it’s a small amount [of money] in the grand scheme of things but it’s a start for the appeal and it’s all about doing something for other people.”

For more information about the appeal and how to donate call 01284 712952, via email, or go to the website.