Ipswich: Grandad Kevin’s delight at creation of hospital garden

IPSWICH: He credits staff at Ipswich Hospital’s maternity unit with saving the lives of his two grandchildren.

So for hospital employee Kevin Flory, the opening of a new community garden serving the maternity unit at the trust in Heath Road, is all the more special.

Part of the hospital’s Breathing Spaces project, the new sanctuary will provide a haven for worried parents, visiting their tiny treasures at the Neonatal Unit.

Mr Flory, who works for the hospital’s surgical instrument sterilization service and donated three trees to the project, became a grandfather twice this year.

“I want to thank everyone within the unit because without them I wouldn’t have any of my grandchildren,” he said.

His grandaugher Lily Jane was born by emergency caesarean section in June.

Then, just 11 days later, his grandson Harlea was born three months premature and admitted to the Neonatal Unit.

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Harlea spent more than six weeks at the unit before Kevin’s daughter Kerri and her partner Jamie were able to take him home.

“It’s not until you have a special baby that you realise what pressure you’re under, with the monitors going off and things like that,” Kevin said.

“The support at the Neonatal Unit was second-to-none.”

Harlea is now well on the way to catching up with babies his age, but the need for a refuge, a place away from the stresses and emotional rollercoaster of the unit is all too obvious for the Flory family.

“They would have to rush him into intensive care all the time,” said Kerri.

“Twice, he was in my arms when he stopped breathing,” recalled Kevin.

Kevin made his tree donation as a token of thanks for the care his family received.

“I want to do something that will be standing as the children grow up and that will grow with them,” he said.

Neonatal care staff who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony also voiced approval of the hospital’s newest garden.

“Mums and dads can get some fresh air without going too far away,” said nurse Lisa Bennett.

“Hopefully when we’ve got a baby in for a long stay, they will be able to come outside in a pram and sit in the sun for a while.”

Staff and families gathered this week for the official opening of the garden, which was planted by the hospital’s estate management team and funded by sponsorship and charitable contributions.

n Tell us your experiences of the maternity unit. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or eveningstarletters @eveningstar.co.uk