27th January
- Leighton Buzzard Citizen,

GP's hospital project in Sri Lanka

A FORMER Leighton Buzzard GP and her builder partner are aiming to get their hands dirty to help the stricken people of her native Sri Lanka.

Dr Tushara Wickramanayaka, who practiced at the Bassett Road Surgery until August 2003, and Gary Cutter are heading to the southern Sri Lankan province and Kalutara - devastated in the Tsunami disaster.

Dr 'Tush' hopes to set up a children's hospital in the place of her birth and where many of her friends died on Boxing Day.

And that is a tall order.

The country has just one children's hospital in Colombo but will need many more.

An estimated 20,000 children were killed in the tidal wave and many more injured and half of the millions of homeless are children.

"We had to do something," said the 37-year-old now living in Milton Keynes. "But rather than support the main charities we wanted to do something directly by initiating the children's hospital project."

The couple have pledged 6,000 and friends and colleagues have matched that. They hope eventually to raise 25,000.

They fly out at the end of next month with Gary putting his expertise to good use by building the hospital foundations with local labour promised by the Sri Lankan government on reclaimed ground promised to them.

In two months they hope to have, literally, got the project off the ground.

"The aim is for us to support further building as we raise the money," she said. "I hope my former colleagues and patients in Leighton Buzzard can help."

The Milton Keynes Tsunami Appeal Fund is currently seeking charity registration but in the meantime donations can be made, payable to the fund, and sent to 37 Tennyson Drive, Newport Pagnell MK16 8PH