Worthing couple use wedding gifts to support life-saving children’s services

DM19100116a.jpg. Ben and Claire Ellis got married earlier this month, and instead of gifts, they asked for donations to two charities which helped to treat their son Harry when he was born prematurely three years ago. Ben Claire and Harry 3, and JJ 10. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190110-192745008
DM19100116a.jpg. Ben and Claire Ellis got married earlier this month, and instead of gifts, they asked for donations to two charities which helped to treat their son Harry when he was born prematurely three years ago. Ben Claire and Harry 3, and JJ 10. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190110-192745008

The parents of a boy born three months prematurely have rejected the usual wedding gifts of casserole pots and fondue sets in favour of giving back to the people who saved their son’s life.

Ben and Claire Ellis’ three-year-old son, Harry, was born at just 26 weeks and spent the first three months of his life in hospital.

The couple, of Penfold Road, Worthing, got married in September and asked well-wishers to donate to Ronald McDonald House and the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Neonatal Transfer Service (KSS) – organisations which Ben said made their ordeal so much more manageable.

“Speaking from first hand experience, they do great work,” the 44-year-old said.

“It was obviously a really stressful time, but Ronald McDonald House is something that goes above and beyond, and let us keep in contact with him in hospital.

“The transfer ambulance would also take Harry from hospital to hospital – now he’s thriving and like any other three-year-old.”

Ben said Claire, 40, had gone into hospital for a routine, six-month check-up when she was told by doctors she needed an emergency caesarean.

The KSS rushed her and Harry between Worthing, Royal Sussex and Southampton General hospitals, while Ronald McDonald House provided free accommodation in Brighton for five weeks so Ben and Claire could be near their son.

“Without Ronald McDonald House we would’ve had to commute from Worthing to Brighton every day or stayed in a B&B,” Ben said.

“Without the neo-natal ambulance transfer service and the excellent paramedics, who knows where we’d be.”

The fundraiser has already brought in more than £1,000 – more than double the original target.

To donate, visit the fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/elliswedding2019