A RADFORD mum was able to provide a special thank you to staff at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire Neonatal Unit after her colleagues and customers helped raise £1,000.
Clare Hooper, who works at The Pilot pub, made the generous gesture after her eldest daughter Payton was born 11 weeks prematurely and Ebony, who was born last December, was 16 weeks premature.
Both girls received specialist care in University Hospital and both youngsters went home sooner than Claire was first advised thanks to the care they received.
Incredibly, Clare went into labour when working behind the bar – making customers feel more obliged to donate to the worthy cause.
Clare said: “The doctors in the Neonatal Unit told me that my kids will probably go home on their expected birth date.
“Both my girls did really well and came home earlier – Payton spent just 7 weeks in the unit and Ebony 14 weeks.
“They had fantastic care.”
Shaunie Gascoigne, bar supervisor, said it was a worrying time for Clare and her family and they wanted to show the pub was thinking of them.
She added: “We raised money in lots of ways including sponsored waxings and a PJ and onesie party.
“My colleagues Darren Guy and Jake Russel even ran around the pub 100 times dressed as batman and robin.”
Money raised by The Pilot has funded ten breast pumps so premature babies can benefit from their mother’s milk throughout the time they are in the Neonatal Unit.
Breast milk is easier for their stomachs to digest than infant formula and helps their vulnerable tummies to mature and fight infection.
Colette Fox, neonatal infant feeding coordinator, said: “Expressing milk for your baby on the Neonatal Unit can be very challenging.
“These pumps are vital for our mums to provide their own milk which is particularly valuable to vulnerable preterm babies.
“It protects against infection, is easily digested and promotes optimum growth and brain development.”
Visit www.uhcwcharity.org of you would like to fundraise for the Neonatal Unit or any ward at University Hospital.