Dad on his bike to thank hospital that saved daughter’s life

Alex Hepton with his daughter Jayla

Alex Hepton with his daughter Jayla - Credit: Archant

A FATHER of two got back in the saddle for the first time in almost 10 years for Britain’s biggest cycling race to thank the charity that saved his daughter’s life.

Jayla Hepton, from Walkern, was born with a hole in her heart, requiring open heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital last September.

Dad Alex decided he wanted to give back to the hospital, so took part in the Prudential RideLondon at the weekend, joining 20,000 riders on the 100-mile route.

Alex said: “I had not really found a reason to fundraise before, I had donated to a few and bits and pieces like that but I had never really had anything that meant that much to me.

“Jayla’s 12 days in hospital were the most frightening in our lives, but every member of the amazing staff from the volunteer clowns to the consultant cardiac surgeons made us feel at ease.

“The hospital is full of miracle makers, and the most incredibly brave children whose smiles are just that little big bigger.

“The thing with Great Ormond Street is you can instantly see where the money that is raised is going.

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“I honestly can’t raise enough money for them, they make people’s lives so much better and the money means an awful lot to them.”

Jayla is now coming up to one year old and is well on the way to recovery.

“Jayla is doing great,” added Alex, 30.

“She has been taken off the tubes so she is learning how to feed and drink at the minute. The heart is pretty much fixed so it’s a case of keeping an eye on her and having check ups every six months.

“We will never be able to repay the debt we owe the hospital for saving and improving our little girl’s life.”

Alex has already exceeded his fundraising target of £2,500. To sponsor him, visit