When Olivia Lily Marland was born at North Devon District Hospital on December 10 last year, parents Hannah and Nick spent an anxious five days watching over their new-born daughter in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU).
Olivia wasn’t born prematurely, but she had contracted a viral and bacterial sepsis infection and was a very poorly baby who needed extra care.
Twelve months later, she’s looking forward to her second Christmas, and grateful Hannah and Nick are hoping to be able to give something back to the help the hospital that saved their daughter’s life.
Hannah and Nick both work at Tiverton-based Blakes Coaches and the company is fundraising for Royal Devon Hospitals Charity (formerly Over and Above), with all the money raised going to SCBU.
“SCBU helped our little girl so much and all we want to do is to say thank you,” said Blakes finance director Hannah.
“Olivia was in an incubator for five days and the team worked shift patterns to look after her and were just incredible. Not only were they there for our baby daughter, they were also there to support Nick and I.
“Olivia made a full recovery, quicker than they all thought and is now a happy, healthy, cheeky little girl.
“Every year, Blakes Coaches chooses a different local charity to raise money for, so without hesitation, this year’s charity is Royal Devon Hospitals Charity and every donation, big or small will go to the SCBU at North Devon District Hospital.”
The company held a charity day last week, with a coach trip to the Langstone Cliff Hotel in Dawlish. Guests enjoyed a three-course Christmas Lunch, followed by an afternoon of festive entertainment, dancing and plenty of mince pies.
The day raised an incredible £5,500 for the charity.
“All of the money goes to the charity, we don’t take a penny and donate the wages and fuel from the whole day,” added Hannah.
“Over the last 18 years, Blakes Coaches has raised almost £92,000 for local charities and we would love to be able to get even closer to our £100k goal and in support of a cause that means so much to us.
“All the money raised will make a huge difference to patients by improving the hospital environment, buying medical equipment and helping us to give something back when they helped us so much.”
Ian Roome, Head of Fundraising for Royal Devon Hospitals Charity, said: “It’s so inspiring to hear stories like Olivia’s and incredibly special to see families supported by the hospital fundraising to give something back.
“Hannah, Nick and the Blakes team and their customers have raised an incredible amount of money and we’re so grateful to them for their support.”
If you’d like to support the Blakes Coaches fundraising for SCBU click here.