Preston school teacher Kate Bell made it a real family affair when she visited the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Royal Preston Hospital to officially hand over three top of the range phototherapy machines she had bought for staff to use on their tiny patients.
The machines help babies affected by jaundice either because of premature birth or health issues and together cost £8,980, which is just over half of an incredible £16,015 that Kate raised for the hospital’s mums and babies charity Baby Beat.
Kate raised the funds in memory of her and husband Danny’s beloved triplets, Ava, Elsie and Orla, who fought hard to live but sadly passed away after being born prematurely in 2020.
Since then, Kate, who works at Cop Lane Primary, and Danny have had three more beautiful daughters – twins Effie and Eliza, who arrived in March 2021, and Neve, who was born just 12 weeks ago in January this year. The rainbow trio joined Kate on her visit to NICU much to everyone’s delight.
Kate said: “I have my three angels in Heaven and now my three angels here on earth. Through the wonderful support of family, friends, work colleagues and the children and parents from school, Ava, Elsie and Orla are helping other babies who arrive too soon or who are poorly.”
Kate is working with Baby Beat fundraiser Sue Swire to decide what the rest of her donation should now be spent on. Sue said: “Around 75 per cent of the babies cared for in NICU are affected by jaundice.
“The unit already had six phototherapy units but they are many years old. The three units bought in Ava, Elsie and Orla’s names are much more efficient, compact and easier to handle. It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Kate back to NICU with her three girls so they could see the difference Ava, Elsie and Orla are making to the unit’s future through this project and an upcoming second project.”
Kate’s Baby Beat donation included £350 raised by her colleagues and parents connected to the school. One family completed a Guild Wheel cycle while another made and sold bookmarks. It also included £1,680 raised through sales of a calendar featuring smiling dogs that was the work of canine grooming parlour Furry Tails, of Tarleton.
Kate added: “Most of the money has come from the generosity of family and friends, who have spread the message of Ava, Elsie and Orla’s warrior spirit, which led to further donations from the public.” Baby Beat is part of the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity family. It funds specialist equipment, patient services and comforts, clinical care, local research and training so that the Royal Preston Hospital’s maternity and gynaecology teams can offer the best possible outcomes for babies and mums in the Central Lancashire and Chorley area. With the charity’s support, the neonatal unit continues to provide exceptional care for premature and sick babies and their families from across Lancashire and South Cumbria.