Grandfather in fundraising challenge after ‘miracle’ recovery in hospice

Harry Marsh, 83, aims to complete a five-mile walk later this month.

Harry Marsh will carry out a sponsored walk on May 19
Harry Marsh will carry out a sponsored walk on May 19

A grandfather who spent eight weeks receiving palliative care before a “miracle” recovery is planning a sponsored walk to raise money for the hospice that cared for him.

Harry Marsh, 83, spent a month in hospital after becoming ill and going into septic shock last November.

He was then transferred to St Andrews Hospice in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, but began to recover steadily and returned home after eight weeks.

Mr Marsh is now planning to do a sponsored five-mile walk around the loch at Drumpellier Country Park near Coatbridge to thank those who cared for him.

He said: “I owe a debt of gratitude to the staff of St Andrews.

“Their care, kindness, prayers and dedication put me back on my feet, and I want to raise awareness of the wonderful work they do.”

On November 3, Mr Marsh developed Streptococcal A infection with Necrotising Fasciitis (a bacterial infection) which led to septic shock.

He spent around a month in University Hospital Monklands in Airdrie on intravenous antibiotics, and continuous oxygen to compensate for lung damage.

Harry Marsh spent a month in hospital
Harry Marsh spent a month in hospital

He said the treatments and skill of the medical and nursing staff “no doubt saved my life” and he was then transferred to the hospice as “it appeared palliative care was the best and only option”.

However after steadily improving in the hospice, Mr Marsh was released home at the end of January and has since been building up his strength, though the first few months were tough.

The grandfather-of-four, who turns 84 on May 6, said he and his family and friends drew on the strength of their Christian faith to sustain them.

He said: “My horizon was impossible to see, I couldn’t see a future because I could only see myself house-bound and not able to do what I did before.

“Many prayers were being said for me and I did not know if there was going to be a future for me.

“But a good friend looked me in the eye and said ‘you have been saved’.

“God must have a purpose for you and you have to find out what that purpose is.”

After building up his fitness, Mr Marsh, a retired business management and development consultant, said he was overjoyed when he managed to complete a circuit of the loch a month ago.

For his sponsored walk he will walk five miles around the loch on May 19.

It is not the first time he has carried out a fundraising challenge. In 2021 he raised £9,000 for Bothwell Parish Church after completing a virtual bike ride between Land’s End and John o’Groats.

Mr Marsh, an elder of Bothwell Parish Church in South Lanarkshire, pedalled for a total of 62 hours in his garage to complete the 951-mile route.

Rev Iain Majcher of Bothwell Parish Church, his wife and their five children will join Mr Marsh on the walk, along with other friends and St Andrews Hospice staff.

The minister said: “Since I’ve known Harry he has shown me that age is never a barrier.

“I must admit that I wasn’t totally surprised when he wrote to me telling me that he was going to walk five miles for St Andrews Hospice as this is who Harry is, always proving the world wrong.

“It seems like only yesterday when I visited him in the ICU at the end of last year and then earlier this year in the hospice when he was unable to sit himself up in bed, let alone walk.

“Miracles are often easy to overlook but no-one can deny the miracle of Harry’s journey back to health, and I, and so many others including Harry and his family, thank God for this miracle.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so at