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West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock raises over £15,000 ahead of Mont Blanc climb for Cambridge Children's Hospital

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Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, has raised more than £15,000 for charity ahead of a mountain climb later this week.

Matt smashed his rund-raising goal of £10,000, in less than three days, for the planned Cambridge Children's Hospital and will soon attempt to reach the summit of western Europe's highest mountain, Mont Blanc.

On reaching his goal he said: "I'm delighted to have reached my fundraising target - thank you to everyone who has given so generously.

Matt Hancock and partner Gina Coladangelo will be tackling Mont Blanc this week to raise money for charity
Matt Hancock and partner Gina Coladangelo will be tackling Mont Blanc this week to raise money for charity

"Every penny raised will go towards supporting children's care and help realise this important goal.

"Every step of my climb will be a step closer to giving children in need of care the most compassionate support modern medical science has to offer. Please continue to give generously for this brilliant cause."

As Health Secretary, Matt signed off on the initial £100 million funding for the new children's hospital, but the project needs to double that level of support.

He said: "Incredibly, East Anglia remains the only part of England that doesn't have a dedicated hospital for children, so there's a pressing need for a new hospital to serve the needs of the region, including my own West Suffolk constituency.

"The team behind the Cambridge Children's Hospital have an inspiring vision, not just of creating a new children's hospital, but of creating a world-class research centre that brings together the treatment of mental and physical health for children, like a new Great Ormand Street for the twenty-first century."

"As the biggest centre of genomic research in the world, Cambridge is incredibly well placed to combine the treatment and research to find new cures for rare diseases. The design and purpose of the project is to treat both the physical and mental health of children, and the impact of child illness on their families."

Matt has been training for the charity trek since the beginning of the year and will attempt the climb with his partner Gina Coladangelo. Gina will be raising money for the Willow Tree Foundation - a charity working with seriously ill young adults.

He added: "I have always had a love of the mountains, and although I'm not an expert climber, I love a big challenge and taking on this breath-taking trek is something I have always wanted to do.

"I've been training and will be going out to the Alps at the start of the Parliamentary recess this summer to acclimatise and then make the attempt. The climb is a two-day trip, the first day to reach around 4000m, and then we get up around 3am to summit around dawn."

"The only downside to all the training is that my suits no longer fit - they're now all far too big."

Shelley Thake, Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust (ACT) CEO, said: "We would like to thank Matt for his fundraising - smashing his £10,000 target and raising over £15,000 is incredible.

"This money will have a huge impact on the way we treat children in our region, bringing mental and physical health together in a whole new way. When we launch our main public fundraising campaign, we will be asking people from every corner of East Anglia to get behind this.

"That so many people have already got behind Matt's fundraising, is a sure sign that people are excited about the campaign to build a new Children's Hospital for the East of England and making it a reality."

Matt has been involved in other outdoor challenges throughout the years. Last year he ran the London Marathon for St Nicholas Hospice Care.

In 2012 Matt became the first MP in modern times to win a horse race at the Newmarket July Course, raising more than £10,000 for Racing Welfare and the Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund.

In 2005 Matt trekked to the North Pole to raising money for Cancer Research UK and carrying our experiments for the European Space Agency.

To donate to Matt's fund-raiser, click here.

More information about Cambridge Children's Hospital can be found on the hospital's website.