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Clergy couple's hospital aid

PUBLISHED: 17:12 09 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:16 12 August 2010

A VICAR who was severely injured when he chased a burglar is backing an appeal to raise money for the hospital that got him back on his feet . The Reverend Eric Heselwood of Downe Parish Church, endured five years of bungled operations in Bromley after

A VICAR who was severely injured when he chased a burglar is backing an appeal to raise money for the hospital that 'got him back on his feet'.

The Reverend Eric Heselwood of Downe Parish Church, endured five years of bungled operations in Bromley after he broke his hip in 2001 after chasing someone who had stolen his wife's handbag from the vicarage.

After several operations, his condition worsened, he was confined to a wheelchair for months and he even had three heart attacks after being prescribed the now discontinued inhibitor drug Vioxx.

But when he was transferred to the specialist orthopaedic surgeons at King's College Hospital, Camberwell (KCH), his fortune changed.

The grandfather-of-five, 67, said: "For five years it just went wrong, wrong and wrong again. When my hip replacement went wrong, they operated again and then broke my femur. By the time I was referred to King's College, there was five years of damage to repair.

"They started from scratch and were absolutely fantastic. I had retired early but I could get back to work, they literally got me back on my feet.

"At retirement age, you don't expect to stop completely, but because of my injury I did. Without them, I don't think I would have been able to have done it."

Reverend Heselwood now looks after Downe Parish until another permanent vicar takes over while his wife Hilda, also a vicar, works at his former parish St Mark's in Biggin Hill.

Both of them are showing their gratitude to the KCH Limb Reconstruction Trust this Saturday by promoting their work at the carol concert being held at St Mary the Virgin church from 7pm.

The concert will be led by the City Chamber Choir, conducted by Stephen Jones, and other patients undergoing limb reconstruction will join charity trustees to read Christmas poems and prose.

Before the concert, supporters of the charity will be given a private tour of Charles Darwin's home Down House.

Trust co-chairman, orthopaedic surgeon Mark Phillips, said: "We hope this concert will highlight the work done by the Trust to support patients at the unit.

"Treatment is painful and can take many months or even years, with multiple operations frequent. Job losses, financial pressure, loss of mobility and breaking relationships are all too common."

Tickets to the carol service, which is followed by mince pies and mulled wine in the Downe Village Hall in the High Street, are £15 or £40 with the guided tour of Down House from 4.45pm.

Call Karen Sherris from KCH Limb Reconstruction Trust on 0784 157 6084 for more information and to book.

kate.nelson@archant.co.uk

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