Great-grandmother cleaning up neighbourhood to raise cash for Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals

Normally, you’d expect an 82-year-old great-grandmother-of-five to be putting her feet up.

But Diana Mukuma, from Kennington, regularly walks her greyhound Dido in the park, and is scrupulous in making sure the little presents the mutt leaves are properly disposed of.

Now, though, she’s decided to put their daily constitutional to good use – she is cleaning up her neighbourhood while raising money for Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals.

The grandmother-of-19 and great-grandmother-of-five volunteers at St Thomas’ Hospital with Dido, aged five.

They usually visit staff and patients on the wards as part of the Pets As Therapy programme, but had to stop attending at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

Diana, who has volunteered at the hospital for eight years, said: “The extraordinary staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ are pulling together to care for patients, so I wanted to give something back to them.

“I’m not into doing press-ups or running, nor am I handy at sewing or baking, but I thought we could take on the 30 in 30 fundraising challenge together, which involves completing 30 miles of activity within 30 days.

“We’ll be picking up a minimum of 30 pieces of rubbish every day for 30 days along Lambeth’s streets and parks come rain or shine.”

Diana added: “If you should spy an elderly lady, with bright red hair, walking an elegant greyhound whilst picking up odd bits of rubbish with a grab stick and a black bin bag – that’ll be me and Dido.”

So far the duo have raised more than £750 for Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and are hoping to reach £1,000 by the end of May.

Money raised by the 30 in 30 Challenge will support the wellbeing of staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ throughout this crisis.

From opening rest and recharge areas for staff to take some time out in a peaceful and relaxing environment, to providing vital training and educational support for those treating patients with the virus.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ director of fundraising, Catherine Hart, said: “We want to say a big thank you to Diana and Dido, and everyone supporting Guy’s and St Thomas’. We love following Diana and Dido’s updates with their challenge.

“We are truly inspired by all of the creative 30 in 30 virtual challenges that are taking place, along with all the wonderful messages of support for staff, the generous donations and gifts in kind.”

To support Diana and Dido with their 30 in 30 Challenge, click here.

Follow Diana and Dido’s progress on Instagram here.

To find out more about the 30 in 30 fundraising challenge and to get involved, click here.

Pictured top: Diana and Dido by Eleanor Bentall photography


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