A HEART transplant patient raised money for a vital charity and by completed a half-marathon.

Robbie Burns, 50 from Twyford, walked 13 miles from Winchester to Southampton to raise money for Wessex Heartbeat.

It is the region’s leading heart charity that provides vital support and funding to the cardiac department – and its patients – at Southampton General Hospital.

Robbie raised an incredible £8,000 and was joined by his wife Tamsin, cardiologists Katrijn Jansen, Peter Cowburn, Aisling Carroll, and another 90 walkers.

He said: “The Southampton Cardiac team has played a considerable part of my life for the past 25 years, both as a cardiac patient as well as the various roles I’ve held within the department.

Robbie was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries and Ventricular Septal Defect (a congenital disability that meant the two main arteries carrying blood out of his heart – the main pulmonary artery and the aorta – were switched in position)

After two open-heart surgeries as a child, Robbie was relatively healthy for many years.

But in 2015, his health started deteriorating and in 2019, the team at Southampton diagnosed end-stage heart failure and referred him to Newcastle for transplant assessment.

After a challenging year, Robbie was added to the urgent transplant list, receiving the all-important call to have the operation in June last year.

Robbie said: “Although my recovery has been long and highly turbulent, I feel stronger now.

“And it’s thanks to the support I’ve had from the cardiac department in Southampton and Wessex Heartbeat that I’ve been able to complete this special fundraising walk with my wife and fellow supporters.”

John Munro, Chief Executive of Wessex Heartbeat, said: “Robbie’s story is truly inspiring, and to hear that he’s taken on such a mammoth task for our charity, is overwhelming.

“Our utmost priority is to ensure that heart patients and their families are treated with the best possible care and support, and without the donations from our incredible supporters, we would not be able to provide this vital help for the community.”

Robbie is still welcoming donations, so if you’d like to contribute, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/walkwithrobbie