Supporter’s tough challenge raises funds for TMBU

Rockinghorse supporter Ben Withinshaw from Cranleigh put himself to the ultimate challenge for a very special cause…

He took part in the Man vs Lakes event earlier this Summer to raise funds for the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) in Brighton, where his daughter Camilla was cared for last year.

Not an event for the faint-hearted, the Man vs Lakes challenge is the UK’s most adventurous marathon-distance running event, held in the scenic Lake District. Ben completed the event to raise an incredible £7,200 for the TMBU.

As a vital supporter of the baby unit, we were joined by TMBU staff for an official cheque presentation with Ben and his family on Tuesday 17 October (pictured above).

Hannah Seltzer, Challenge Events Fundraising Manager at Rockinghorse, said: “We are always blown away by the challenges our supporters endure to raise funds for us – and this one was certainly an incredible feat! We are so grateful for the support from Ben and his family, who have raised such a fantastic amount of money for the baby unit.”

Camilla (pictured above) is now 21 months old and is a happy healthy little girl. Ben and Gemma have kindly shared their story of her time on the TMBU…

“On Saturday 23 January 2016, my pregnant wife Gemma was taken ill whilst we were visiting her uncle who lived near Reigate, for supper. She was taken by ambulance to East Surrey Hospital where it became apparent she had experienced a bowel adhesion, having had prior surgery for bowel cancer back in 2011. The only way to resolve this was to operate, which meant our daughter Camilla was born at just 32 weeks.

“Within 24 hours, our new-born daughter Camilla was diagnosed with a distended bowel (no connection with Gemma’s prior bowel issues), and she was taken in a neonatal ambulance down to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton. 24 hours later, Camilla underwent surgery to have a temporary stoma fitted, all the while Gemma was still in intensive care back up in East Surrey hospital and was recovering from her own surgery.

“I spent the next week travelling between Brighton and East Surrey. Gemma was discharged from hospital 10 days after Camilla was born and we were in Brighton and at the TMBU to be at Camilla’s cot within two hours of leaving. The baby unit was where we spent the next six weeks, with Camilla going from nursery one, through to nursery two, and eventually nursery three. The only real complication was the set back of Camilla not absorbing enough milk (which had to be expressed all throughout Gemma’s recovery) and the stoma discharge was too much.

“After six weeks of care on the TMBU, we were allowed to take our little girl Camilla home until she had grown enough to have her stoma reversal operation. This was completed on 22 April 2016 and on the 28 April, we were allowed home with our gorgeous little girl – with hopefully her last operation complete. Since then, we have been back for check-ups, and we most recently visited to present a cheque to the TMBU, and their charity partner, Rockinghorse.

“Without the incredible care and attention provided by the wonderful doctors and nurses within the TMBU, we wouldn’t have our gorgeous daughter with us now. We are so grateful to everyone at the TMBU and that is our reason for wanting to support them in any way possible.”

If you’re considering taking part in a challenge events for Rockinghorse, we’d love to hear from you – call us on 01273 330044 or email

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