Christmas cheer for special babies

Tracy Wade (front) from Hope 4 Kidz and Santa hand out teddy bears to staff Sarah Robinson and Julia Bennett for the Neo-natal unit at Sunderland Royal hospital, new mums, Abby Robinson with her baby, Isla-Rose Whitfield and Simone Clark with 5 day old Lillia Merrington.
Tracy Wade (front) from Hope 4 Kidz and Santa hand out teddy bears to staff Sarah Robinson and Julia Bennett for the Neo-natal unit at Sunderland Royal hospital, new mums, Abby Robinson with her baby, Isla-Rose Whitfield and Simone Clark with 5 day old Lillia Merrington.
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FRAIL babies at a neonatal unit enjoyed their first Christmas with the help of a Wearside charity.

The tiny tots at Sunderland Royal Hospital were handed sack-fulls of presents by Santa Claus, donated by Hope4Kidz.

The Pennywell-based group, which helps sick and disadvantaged youngsters across the North East, was inundated with selection boxes and toys after it launched its seasonal appeal last month.

The neonatal and high-dependency unit was presented with 24 teddy bears, which were given to newborn babies at the Kayll Road site.

They included premature baby Isla-Rose Whitfield, who weighed just 5lbs 1/2oz after being born at 34 weeks.

Abby Robinson, 23, of Millfield, said she hoped to have third child Islay-Rose home in time for the big day.

“She’s doing really well,” she said. “Hopefully, she will be allowed to home soon and the whole family will be together for Christmas.”

Pam Jack, unit manager, said the gifts would help the babies enjoy their first Christmas.

“We’re very grateful to Hope4Kidz for the donations,” she said.

To help bring Christmas cheer to youngsters across the region, the Wearside charity launched an appeal for selection boxes and toys for local hospitals, hospices, women’s refuges and special needs units.

Thousands of gifts have already been delivered.

Viv Watts, chief executive of Hope4Kidz, said: “It is thanks to the public and businesses who donate the gifts and companies who provide drop-off points that the annual appeal grows each year and is so successful for those who need the support at Christmas.”

Anyone wishing to donate selection boxes or toys can drop them off at collections points at Sun FM, Wearfield, Matalan Pallion, Dalton Park Shopping Mall, Morrisons in Seaburn, and Hope4Kidz, Pennywell, before Monday <December 19>.

For more information about the appeal or to arrange a Christmas delivery, call 534 7788, email vivien.watts@hope4kidz.org.uk or visit www.hope4kidz.org.uk.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho