Six-year-old donates birthday money to life saving Norfolk hospital

It is usually the birthday girl who receives the presents, but as young Elle Ward turned six yesterday it was her doing the giving.

The Easton youngster, who was cared for at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit when she was born prematurely, decided to donate her birthday and pocket money to help fund more cots for tots.

The St Peter's Primary School pupil had the idea when she was visiting the unit to drop off garments knitted by a neighbour with her mum a few weeks ago.

Having heard that she had been cared for at the unit, she decided she wanted to help.

'I wanted to say thank you. I wanted to help somebody else's baby,' she said.


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'I would like them to buy an incubator with my money.'

Elle was going to give �30 of her pocket money to the Cots for Tots appeal, but when she received another �10 in a birthday card she increased it to �40.

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Elle was born at just 33 weeks, weighting 5lbs, when her mother Fiona suffered from pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.

'She was in here for about two weeks,' said Mrs Ward, who helps out at the Busy Bees nursery opposite the hospital. 'It was touch and go at first, but she managed. She is doing really well now. She wants to be a nurse now. We are very proud of her.'

'We were bringing in the knitting and that is what gave Elle the idea that she wanted to donate her birthday and pocket money to the unit.

'When we came into the unit she knew that this is where she was when she was born. She peeked around the corner. She likes looking at the babies.

'I think without the unit she wouldn't have survived as she had breathing difficulties. We are very grateful to them. They work very hard here. The care that they give is wonderful. They deserve a lot of credit for what they do.'

Consultant paediatrician Mark Dyke said with more babies being born there was more demand for intensive care places.

He said the hospital needed to raise �500,000 just to build the space and equipment to increase the number of incubators from 11 to 15.

'It is such a wonderful gesture for a little girl,' he added. 'Every single contribution is going to make a difference. We are delighted to have Elle's contribution, partly because she is so young and for her to have thought of giving her money to help others is such a wonderful thing to have done. For us it is a recognition that her family still remember the care that Elle received here and they understand the importance for other people.'

You can contribute directly to the Cots for Tots appeal by going to www.justgiving.com/norwichnicu or send a cheque payable to the NNUH NHS Foundation Trust and marked on the back NICU Cot Fund F300 to FREEPOST Plus RRJT-ERAK-YEKZ

Are you raising money for charity? Contact reporter Annabelle Dickson on 01603 772426 or e-mail annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

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