THE family of a Rustington baby are planning three special events to say a big thank-you to a hospital team which cared for their desperately-ill daughter.
Barney and Rachel Jeffries are doubly grateful to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, where staff looked after baby Matilda when she was born weighing under 3lb, and then again when she was readmitted with a life-threatening illness.
The couple are now putting the finishing touches to their fund-raising events in aid of the unit, an Easter Fun Day at Rustington Methodist Church, with craft stalls and children’s activities, including an Easter egg hunt, on Thursday, April 5, from 10am-2pm, and two performances of The Gingerbread Man, a musical theatre show for children aged two-eight, on Friday, April 13, at East Preston Children and Family Centre (10.30am) and the Wickbourne Centre, Littlehampton (3.15pm).
Barney, a journalist, said the unit, which cares for premature and sick babies, was a “very personal cause” to him and Rachel, an adult education teacher. “The unit did a fantastic job of looking after Matilda, both during her initial stay and when she was subsequently readmitted with a serious illness.
“The second time, it was touch and go. She couldn’t be given food for 10 days. It was a very traumatic time for us.
“But the staff were so kind. It was much, much more than clinical care that they gave us.”
Proceeds from the events will go to the Early Birth Association charity, which allocates donations to the unit, funding items ranging from life-saving equipment to clothes, pretty sheets and blankets to make the unit more homely.
“Matilda is now a healthy, happy baby. We’re so grateful to everyone at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit for saving her life, and want to do something for them in return,” added Barney.