Inspiring Sylvia’s bridge bid

Cancer victim Sylvia Evans. Pictured on the footbridge in Castleford, where she plans to crawl the length of the bridge, to raise money for the Prince of Wales hospice.'p6078b133'Picture by Andrew Bellis.
Cancer victim Sylvia Evans. Pictured on the footbridge in Castleford, where she plans to crawl the length of the bridge, to raise money for the Prince of Wales hospice.'p6078b133'Picture by Andrew Bellis.
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BRAVE cancer patient Sylvia Evans – who has battled the disease for three years – has come up with an unusual way to help raise cash for the hospice that has supported her.

The determined 82-year-old – who was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in 2008 and told the following year that she had only six months left to live – has decided to crawl 131-metres across Castleford’s River Aire footbridge in a bid to raise £1,000 for Pontefract’s Prince of Wales Hospice.

Mrs Evans said: “I cannot walk far, so I have decided to crawl across the bridge. I don’t think about my own health and safety, I am going to start training now and crawl round my estate on my hands and knees.

“I don’t know when I am going to tackle the bridge – I have to apply for permission from the council first – or how long it will take me, but I’m going to do it. I hope it will inspire people.

“I want to raise £1,000 for the hospice which has cared for me and also offered me bereavement counselling when my son Tracey died earlier this year.”

Mrs Evans had a mastectomy and a series of radiotherapy treatment two years ago and now takes various drugs to help cope with the cancer, which has spread throughout her body.

She said: “I went for treatment at St James’ Hospital in Leeds and I know that I am well compared to some of the people in there.

“I don’t want to just sit in my chair. People who are ill can still be part of the community, they do not just have to sit down and vegetate. I don’t feel sorry for myself.

“It is my willpower that has kept me alive. I raised money for charity in the past – when I was 60 I abseiled down the lighthouse in Withernsea.”

Mrs Evans, who had ten children with late husband Ted Wandless, has tackled a range of jobs including ambulance driving and flower arranging. She now lives with second husband John, 80, in Manor Drive, Featherstone.

The couple – who first met in the 1950s – married seven years ago after their relationship was rekindled when a friend put a dating advert in the Express describing Mrs Evans as a “recycled teenager.”

Family friend Lord St Oswald and Mrs Evans’ son Desmond will help her tackle the bridge crawl and her fundraising efforts for the hospice will start on Saturday August 20 with a tombola at the Old Market Hall in Castleford.