Dozens of presents handed out following Sunderland tot Harley's toy appeal

A Sunderland tot who inspired a Christmas toy appeal with a difference had the biggest smile on his face as he handed out presents to children in hospital this festive season.

Wednesday, 25th December 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 26th December 2019, 12:04 pm
Kimberely Duddin with youngster Harley, 2, handing out a Christmas gift to Anya Wood, 4

At four-months-old little Harley Duddin’s was diagnosed with silent aspiration – which means all the food he eats and drinks goes directly to his lungs.

In the first year of his life, the now cheeky two-year-old was constantly in and out of hospital with numerous infections and even suffered from pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

But doctors haven’t been able to diagnose what causes his silent aspiration.

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Parents Luke and Kimberely Duddin with son Harley, 2

And as his loving parents Luke and Kimberley Duddin prepared to take him in for a double operation earlier this month they were inspired to start fundraising to buy presents for children in hospital who are nil by mouth like Harley.

Because Harley silently aspirates, he is fed through a tube directly into his stomach and being so young he doesn’t understand why he can’t eat like everyone else.

The 30-year-old mum said it would break her heart to know Harley would miss out on chocolate selection box presents handed out when he was in hospital for his operation and began fundraising to hand out present for all children - fit for youngsters who are also nil by mouth.

They took presents along the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, to hand out when Harley went in for surgery.

The family head to Sunderland Royal Hospital to hand out presents

The youngster picked up an infection after his operation and was in hospital for four days but is on the mend now.

And on Friday, December 13, the Plains Farm family visited Sunderland Royal Hospital to hand out presents after they received more than £500 in donations.

Kimberley, who is also mum to Teigan, 10, and Te'Arnie, six, said: “Harley was so excited handing out all the presents. He handed them out to all the other children, he was just over the moon.

“His face just lit up – so did the faces of the other children.

Kimberley and Harley hand a present to Emily Hall, 4

“We were so happy with the support we received – we never thought we’d raise £500.

“I think we’ve done a lot to raise awareness of nil by mouth too – a lot of people didn’t know what we were going through.

“I want to thank everyone because we wouldn’t be able to do this without their support.”

The family are hoping to go back along to the hospital to donate more presents after receiving further donations.

Kimberley says her nana Joan Trotter has been making teddies to donate to the children at the hospital and her dad John Forth and his wife Julia raised £55 for the cause by having a ‘bad Christmas jumper day’ among their friends.