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Inspiring Surgeon to Switch on Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights

A Suffolk breast cancer surgeon, who has twice fought the disease herself, has said she ‘couldn’t stop smiling’ when invited to switch on the Our Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights this year.

Dr Liz O’Riordan who was recently the subject of a statue displayed in the town’s Abbey Gardens has hinted that her superhero costume that she wore for her final radiotherapy session last month could also get another outing for the occasion.

Dr O’Riordan works at Ipswich Hospital and recently published a book about breast cancer, which she hopes will inspire others fighting the disease.  She has close connections with Bury St Edmunds as she was treated at the West Suffolk Hospital, where she had previously worked as a junior doctor and where her husband Dermot is a consultant surgeon.  They are regulars at the Bury St Edmunds parkrun and members of the West Suffolk Wheelers Cycling and Triathlon club.  

The Our Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights Switch On event runs from 3pm on Thursday November 15.  There will be a packed programme of street and stage entertainment and festive fundraising stalls for charities, with the highlight of the evening at 7pm when Dr O’Riordan flicks the switch to ensure the town is lit up.  Entertainment will then continue until 8pm.

Dr O’Riordan said: “It will be an honour to switch on the lights and my mum and dad are so proud!  I can’t wait to be able to give something back to a community that has helped me without knowing it.  I might even turn up dressed as Mrs Incredible.”

The event is one of the annual crowd-pleasers run by the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Our Bury St Edmunds.  

Chief Executive Mark Cordell said: “Over the last couple of years we have always invited an inspiring person who has a strong connection to Bury St Edmunds to switch on the lights and I am delighted that Dr O’Riordan accepted this year’s invitation.  And as it is also the year that the NHS celebrates its 70th anniversary we could not have asked a better person.  We will be making a charitable donation to the West Suffolk Hospital’s Breast Unit at Liz’s request to thank her.” 

For more information on the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights Switch on visit the OurBuryStEdmundsBID website