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A tribute to Bill Cooksey

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We are very sad to share with you that one of the Trust's biggest supporters, Bill Cooksey, has died at the age of 102.

In September this year, Bill completed the Great North Run in5hrs and 41 mins, breaking the record for the oldest person to complete the event.

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Pat Chambers, our charity development manager, said: "This is very sad news indeed.  Bill began supporting CDDFT through our charity after receiving what at the time was believed to be palliative care from us.

"Bill was a great friend and supporter - raising funds to help enhance patient care and experience.  He talked about having been born in poverty in Wales, with healthcare beyond his family's reach and throughout his life never took the NHS for granted and it was this appreciation that initially brought him to us in 2021.

"It was typical of Bill to want to give something back but when he suggested that, at the age of 100 as he was then, he would commit to walking 100 miles to raise funds for us - I was more than a little concerned to say the least!  But he did it - an incredible achievement.

"Not content with that, the following year, 2022, Bill challenged himself to cycle 1,000 miles, aged 101 - which he also achieved.  It's an understatement to say we have been in awe of these physical challenges Bill has taken on which most people of any age wouldn't attempt and which he started not long after he had been very seriously ill himself.

"In September this year Bill completed what was probably his toughest challenge, completing the Great North Run in 5 hrs and 41 mins  - the oldest person ever to do so.  The conditions were terrible but the torrential rain did not deter Bill. He was so very proud to say he walked the whole way - no sitting down. Our chief executive, Sue Jacques and family friend Gavin Iceton, were by his side throughout.

"Bill was a wonderful man and became a great friend. He was dedicated to others and to service throughout his long life having had a distinguished career both in the RAF and later as a teacher. He will be fondly remembered by everyone lucky enough to know him. We will miss him enormously."

'I cannot commend the clinic enough. It is marvellous we have this service at all and well done to you all.'

Patient, Coronary Heart Disease / Heart Failure Service, Shotley Bridge Community Hospital