Two young brothers help Ipswich Hospital’s Sunrise Appeal reach £80,000 milestone

Finley Ashley celebrating at the front.
Back L-R Julia Ashley; Paul Scott, director of finance and

Finley Ashley celebrating at the front. Back L-R Julia Ashley; Paul Scott, director of finance and performance at Ipswich Hospital; ward sister of the neonatal unti Sheila Gauld. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Sick babies and children at Ipswich Hospital are soon to benefit from new kit and equipment to improve their care as a fundraising drive reaches its £80,000 milestone.

Finley Ashley as a baby in the neonatal unit at Ipswich Hospital.

Finley Ashley as a baby in the neonatal unit at Ipswich Hospital. - Credit: Archant

The Sunrise Appeal was launched a year ago with the aim of raising £100,000 for the neonatal and paediatric departments at the hospital to advance clinical care and to provide greater support for parents.

And thanks to the generosity of patients, families, staff, businesses and the wider community, the campaign is one step closer to its ambitious target.

Kate Ashton, head of charity and fundraising at Ipswich Hospital, said: “We have been fantastically supported by lots and lots of different people doing different fundraising activities and now we are asking the community if they can kindly help us finish off the last part of our appeal to get the £100,000 as soon as possible.

“It really is about wanting to be able to go above and beyond. Clinical care is great and the things we will be able to buy will make the experience less terrible and enable us to have more equipment so we don’t need to share so much.”

Ewan and Finley Ashley during the Bear Grylls obstable course.

Ewan and Finley Ashley during the Bear Grylls obstable course. - Credit: Archant

The money will be spent on a wish-list of items that was drawn up by doctors and nurses, which includes a refurbishment of the parent bay, more cardiac monitors, a new resuscitation device and home comforts for the children.

Special support for the appeal came from young brothers from Kesgrave, Finley and Ewan Ashley.

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The boys were both cared for in the neonatal unit as premature babies and to say thank you they took on a sponsored obstacle race called the Bear Grylls Challenge with their dad, Jon, in October and raised almost £300 for the campaign.

Finley went back to the hospital yesterday as a healthy nine-year-old with mum Julia to take part in the celebrations.

Paul Scott, director of finance and performance at Ipswich Hospital, said: “It’s great to meet Finley and to thank him in person for the fantastic effort that him and his brother put into the Bear Grylls Challenge.

“I have been so impressed by all of the challenges and charity events which people have been holding for us to get to this total of £80,000.”

Every year the Ipswich neonatal unit cares for more than 500 premature and unwell babies and their families. The paediatric team meanwhile looks after around 3,500 inpatients and 10,000 outpatients from babies to 16-year-olds.

Sheila Gauld, ward sister of the neonatal unit at Ipswich Hospital, said the money would create a nicer environment for parents and guardians. She added: “I think for the parents it will be more comfortable. They are very pleased with the facilities we have here, but it’s about giving that bit extra we wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide.

“At the minute we rely on a trolley beside the beds for parents to put their stuff on, but they will now get cupboards and reclining chairs, which are especially good for breast-feeding.”

Mrs Gauld added the extra monitoring equipment would enable clinical staff to care for babies with a whole range of illnesses on the ward without needing to transfer them to other neonatal units.

Young brothers have a special reason for supporting the appeal

Two brothers who were both cared for at Ipswich Hospital after they were born too early have done their bit to support the campaign.

Finley and Ewan Ashley, from Kesgrave, took on the Bear Grylls obstacle course in Trent Park, London, in October and raised £290 for the Sunrise Appeal.

Nine-year-old Finley was born six weeks early in 2006 and spent more than a month in the neonatal unit at Ipswich Hospital.

Four years later Finley found himself back in the unit visiting his little brother Ewan,

who arrived one month premature.

“I was here every day after school when my brother was in hospital, I was happy to see him,” said Finley.

The boys both attend Heath Primary School in Kesgrave where Finley shares a class with best friend Thomas Lewis, who was also in the neonatal at Ipswich Hospital at the same time, being born after just 29 weeks.

During the challenge, which the boys completed with dad Jon, Finley met his hero Bear Grylls, who signed his Cub Scout scarf.

The boys’ mum, Julia Ashley, 40, said: “There are lots of people doing really good stuff and we are just a tiny little bit of that. Everything is just horrible when you have babies in hospital so any kind of support that can make life easier makes a difference.

“Support from other parents is quite important, so having a coffee room to talk to other parents will help.”

When Finley and Ewan were both christened, their parents asked for a donation to the neonatal unit of the hospital instead of gifts.

“We could never repay them because we wouldn’t have the children if it wasn’t for them,” added Mrs Ashley, who works as a radiographer at Ipswich Hospital.

People who want to support the Sunrise Appeal should visit www.ipswichhospital.nhs.uk/sunriseappeal or call 01473 702929.

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