The first Covid-19 patient to be successfully stepped down from the Intensive Care Unit (ITU) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) is taking on the challenge of a 100-mile cycle ride around the Cotswolds with his friends, to raise money for the hospital that saved his life.

Simon Farrell, 46, spent eight days in a medically induced coma on a ventilator before being transferred to a medical ward for a short spell and then being discharged home.

After four months of recovery and rehabilitation, he is now determined to raise cash for QEHB: “The amazing staff at the hospital saved my life and allowed me to return home to my family," said Simon, "I want to pay them back in some way.

“The money that we raise will help the team on critical care to help educate patients about how best to recover afterwards. A proportion of the funds will also go to Ward 515, where I was treated after leaving Critical Care, and to therapy services for the purchase of much-needed rehabilitation equipment.”

The 14-strong cycling team have already beaten their initial fundraising target of £1,000, and there's still some weeks to go before they take to the roads (on 14 August).

Simon’s wife, Hannah, said: “I am indebted to my amazing colleagues and friends at QEHB for the amazing care and compassion that my husband, Simon, received when he was on critical care and Ward 515 in early March. I've worked for the NHS for 25 years in September and have worked at QEHB for the majority of this time. I'm so proud of the world-class care that's provided by the Trust and its staff of all disciplines. I have no doubt that NHS stars have never shone so bright over the challenging last few months, and I would like to thank each and every one of them who contributed to the care and compassion that Simon received and the support given to me and our boys.”

Charlotte Schofield, Director of Fundraising at University Hospitals Birmingham Charity, said: “On behalf of everyone at QEHB, I would like to express how delighted I am that Simon has made such a steady recovery since his time in hospital with Covid-19. It is inspirational that he's already taking on a fundraising challenge to support those who helped him in his time of need, and I would like to wish him and the team all the very best for their 100-mile ride.

“The money that Simon and the team raise will help our staff on critical care and the medical wards to provide the very best rehabilitative care for their patients in the future. As a charity we are proud to support their work, which has been so vital throughout this pandemic.”

You can sponsor Simon and the team by visiting their JustGiving page here: justgiving.com/fundraising/qecoast2coast

Find out more about how UHB Charity is supporting the response to Covid-19 here: hospitalcharity.org/nhsheroes