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Beckenham patient meets Olympic champion Duncan Goodhew

22:41 18 June 2012

Alex Plank and Duncan Goodhew

Alex Plank and Duncan Goodhew

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A Beckenham patient who visits Great Ormond Street Hospital received a visit from Olympic swimming champion Duncan Goodhew.

Alex Plank, 11, attended the opening of new clinical building at the renowned children’s hospital in central London along with a number of former and current Olympians.

The youngster was diagnosed with a number of heart defects soon after birth and his heart failed to develop properly.

He first went to the hospital when he was four months old and he now attends Great Ormond Street every six months and will need further operations as he grows.

Mr Goodhew spoke of his admiration for Alex and the other current and former patients for the great challenges they face every day.

The 55-year-old, who won gold in the 100m breaststroke in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, also took along his medals and the Olympic torch which he carried in Liskeard, Cornwall, last month.

The hospital’s chief executive Dr Jane Collins said: “Today was an important day for the hospital, and it is great for Alex and the other children to be a part of it.

“I want to offer a huge thank you to Duncan Goodhew for coming down to offer words of encouragement to Alex and demonstrates the incredible work we do here.”

The event was also designed to celebrate patients from the hospital who have competed in the Transplant Games.

Clinical nurse specialist Suzanne Bradley said: “From one celebrated champion to another, the opportunity for our youngsters to have met Olympic champions can only serve as a huge inspiration as they reflect on previous transplant games or prepare for forthcoming ones.”

Mr Goodhew recently visited Clare House Primary School in Beckenham to preach the importance of healthy eating and living and he is a lifelong member of Beckenham Swimming Club.

The new building is part of the hospital’s redevelopment plan which it hopes will enable it to treat up to 20 per cent more children with modernised facilities.

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