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Solicitor swaps legal briefs for pedal power in charity challenge
07 Sep 2017

A Midlands solicitor is taking on a 100-mile cycling challenge to raise funds for the hospital that twice saved his wife’s life.

FBC Manby Bowdler solicitor Leigh Ganderton (far right) is pictured with his wife Victoria (second from right) with cricketer Ashley Giles (left) who is also taking on the challenge and his wife Stine (second left)

Leigh Ganderton, a serious injury lawyer with Wolverhampton firm FBC Manby Bowdler, will take part in the 100-mile Velo Birmingham, the first closed-road cycling race in the area, on September 24.

He will be raising funds for the charity that supports the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, which has given life saving treatment to his wife Victoria on two occasions.

In 2008, she was diagnosed with an aortic dissection when she was 36 weeks pregnant. The aorta is one of the body’s major blood vessels and so when doctors diagnosed heavily pregnant Victoria as having an aortic dissection they had to act quickly. Of all people who have aortic dissections, 50 per cent die before making it to hospital and of those who do make it to hospital, 50 per cent will not recover. 

Amazingly, Victoria had been walking around for 10 days before she was correctly diagnosed. After the diagnosis she was immediately taken off for an emergency caesarean to deliver her son Jack.

Victoria had follow-up surgery in 2013 and final open-heart surgery in 2014. During the course of this operation, Victoria’s kidneys failed, her lungs went into respiratory shock, she contracted pneumonia and her heart began to fail. 

Her life was saved thanks to the ECMO machine at QEHB, one of the few hospitals in the UK to have one, which performs the role of the heart and lungs in order to keep the patient alive. She spent a month in a coma and 56 nights in intensive care. 

Victoria added: “There is nowhere in the world where such care and compassion is shown by all staff, from surgeons to nurses to porters and cleaners. They never failed to greet me with a smile and bring a little light to my days.”

Leigh said his wife’s treatment was the inspiration for his charity challenge.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to cycling for QEHB Charity and raising money to support the amazing research and work that goes on at the hospital. The care that they gave Victoria was nothing short of incredible and it’s really nice to give something back.”

He will be cycling for QEHB Charity alongside England cricketing legend Ashley Giles. Both men have been inspired to take part in Velo Birmingham after the treatment that their wives have received at the hospital.
Ashley is also Sports Director of Warwickshire County Cricket Club where FBC Manby Bowdler is the official legal partner.

Adam Wilson, an Associate in the Serious Injury and Clinical Negligence Team at FBC Manby Bowdler said: “Knowing about Victoria’s treatment and our links with the cricket club, we wanted to sponsor Leigh for the challenge.

“The treatment that QEHB provides to people like Victoria and Stine is nothing short of amazing so we’re delighted to support Leigh’s fundraising effort for the hospital.”

For more information about how QEHB Charity supports patients, please go to or call 0121 371 4852.