Video: Brave Leiston fundraiser takes an icy dip in the sea

WHILE most people were wrapping up warm to protect themselves against the bitterly cold temperatures one hardy grandfather was braving the unthinkable.

Andy Jones took a dip in the icy North Sea at Sizewell yesterday in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital, which has been looking after his seven-year-old grandson Rhys Ford.

The youngster, who goes to Leiston Primary School, suffers with a rare condition known as Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood - which means he has episodes of paralysis down one side or both sides of his body.

He also has epilepsy and another condition known as dystonia, which causes him to have involuntary movements.

Rhys was under Ipswich Hospital from the age of eight months but was sent to Great Ormond Street two years ago after suffering a prolonged period of dystonia - shaking from top to bottom for four weeks.

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It was here that doctors diagnosed his condition and Mr Ford has been raising money to help the hospital’s research and training.

The 47-year-old, who lives in Leiston, was given the challenge of taking a dip by his colleagues at Sizewell B power station, where he works on the scaffolding.

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“It was very cold,” he said. “I went in to my neck and then came out again very quickly.

“But it was all for a good cause. People have been incredibly kind, I have raised more than �2,000. I can’t thank them enough. I know times are hard but the support I have received has been fantastic.

“There are a lot of great charities out there and it’s hard to choose between them. When Rhys was at Ipswich Hospital the care he received was second to none. However because of what he has been through at Great Ormond Street I wanted to do something for them.”

Rhys’s mum, Claire Allison, 31, continued: “He can now lead as normal a life as possible - to look at him you wouldn’t think anything was wrong.”

To watch the video of Mr Ford’s fundraising efforts visit

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