GRATEFUL parents, whose baby son was born prematurely have pledged to thank the hospital where he received specialist care by raising vital charity funds.

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Dave and Sarah Gooderham’s son George weighed 4.4lbs when he was born six weeks early last February. He spent two and half weeks in West Suffolk Hospital’s neonatal unit where he gradually gained strength and weight before he was able to return home to Long Melford, in March.

George’s parents, both aged 33, have now decided to raise money for the hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, starting with a charity auction where a host of sporting collectables are up for grabs.

The lots include an executive box at Portman Road for Ipswich Town’s game against Leeds United on March 30, a signed pair of Connor Wickham’s boots and gloves and boots signed by goalkeeper Scott Loach. Club captain Carlos Edwards has also donated signed boots, Luke Chambers and Guirane N’Daw have donated signed photographs and David Sheepshanks has pledged a signed England shirt.

Further lots will be added during the next few days, including signed golf merchandise from two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen and an exclusive spa treatment. Former British number one tennis star Elena Baltacha, Olympic bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo and ex-ITFC skipper Matt Holland have also pledged items.

The auction will come to a close on March 2, to coincide with a race night and raffle the Gooderhams are holding at the Red Lion, in Steeple Bumpstead.

Dave, who is communications manager for the Ormiston Children and Families Trust, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support we have already received for the race night and auction. The donations of items for auction are all fantastic but we have also been well-supported by the local community.”

The money raised will be put towards a new bereavement room at the hospital, called the Jasmine Suite. Located between the labour suite, operating theatres and neonatal unit, it will provide a calm and comfortable space where families will be able to receive psychological and practical support following the loss of a baby.

It will include a sitting area and an en-suite bedroom, where women who have had a miscarriage or medical termination, or whose baby are stillborn, can deliver without having the distress of transferring to the labour suite.

“We were so grateful for the support and care we received when George was born and wanted to do something to thank the hospital,” said Sarah, who is student support coach for Essential Nails. “George is now doing really well and is a very happy, healthy baby.

“We are really pleased to be able to help raise money towards the Jasmine Suite, which will provide a calm, relaxing environment where parents who sadly don’t have such a good outcome can receive special help and support.”

Patricia Davis, head of midwifery and general manager at West Suffolk, said: “We are very grateful to Dave and Sarah for raising funds for this important facility which will help other parents who sadly lose their babies.

“The Jasmine Suite will be specially designed to be as homely and comfortable as possible so that bereaved families can receive high quality support in a calm and relaxed environment.”

Dave and Sarah’s race night takes place on March 2, at 7.30pm. For more information about the items available for auction, follow @davegoods on Twitter, email georgegooderhamracenight@hotmail.co.uk or read Dave’s blog at http://georgegooderhamracenight.blogspot.co.uk

Anyone interested in raising funds for the bereavement suite should contact Claire Webb on 01284 712952.

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