Strapping Theodore Naylor-Thomas is one of the tallest boys in his class, adding some weight to the truth of that old saying about mighty oaks coming from the tiniest acorns!
For five-year-old Theodore, who plays rugby for Preston Grasshoppers, couldn’t wait to meet mums Ruth and Charley and so arrived prematurely to weigh in at just 3lbs 7oz when born.
It meant the youngster had to be cared for initially on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Royal Preston Hospital where he, Ruth and Charley developed a close bond with Senior Sister Katie Noble, now known to the family as Auntie Katie!
As a thank you to Auntie Katie and the NICU team, every year for the last three years, Theodore has combined two of his most favourite things in the world – cake and Christmas – to help raise funds for NICU via Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s mums and babies charity Baby Beat.
With help from his parents, Theodore has baked and decorated festive fairy cakes and a batch of deliciously gooey chocolate brownies in the run-up to Christmas. Dressed as Santa, he has then taken them round to family, friends and neighbours in Preston, who have been only too happy to make a donation to Baby Beat in return for a Theodore treat.
This last Christmas, Theodore raised a yummy £305 for the charity, which he has now presented to Auntie Katie and Baby Beat fundraiser Sue Swire.
Paramedic Ruth said: “Katie and the NICU team were amazing and soon felt like family. We will be forever grateful to them for their support. Theodore is now a strapping lad. We are immensely proud of him.”
Theodore is also a smart cookie and has been helping Ruth and Charley, who also works for North West Ambulance Service as a patient transport manager, author two potentially life-saving children’s books. Ruth explained: “During lockdown, we wrote a book called ‘Hello Ambulance’.
“Theodore liked me to tell him bedtime stories about my day. He liked them to start in a very specific way – ‘beep, beep goes the radio, nee-naw goes the siren’ – and then to tell him a softened version of the work I had done to help people.
“We realised that through these stories, Theodore would know how and when to call an ambulance and wouldn’t be frightened of making such a call so ‘Hello Ambulance’ is to encourage children aged three to seven to make an emergency call in an emergency situation.”
Ruth and Charley are selling the book via the website www.helloambulance.co.uk with proceeds from sales going in to the production and printing of their second book aimed at teaching older children CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).