Couple's fundraising bid for baby unit

A COUPLE devastated by the death of their seven-week-old son are making a bid to raise money for the baby unit that supported them.Pub manager Greg Smith and his partner, Rachel Thomas, want to give something back to the Colchester hospital staff who cared for them throughout their tragic ordeal.

A COUPLE devastated by the death of their seven-week-old son are making a bid to raise money for the baby unit that supported them.

Pub manager Greg Smith and his partner, Rachel Thomas, want to give something back to the Colchester hospital staff who cared for them throughout their tragic ordeal.

Born three weeks' prematurely at Colchester General Hospital in May, their first child together, David, brought joy to his proud parents, who run the Drury Arms in Layer Road.

Although there were complications with the birth, baby David was allowed home after just six days.


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At seven weeks, he had just started smiling, but then, inexplicably, he died.

Ms Thomas said: "There's still an awful lot of pain. We haven't been able to lay him to rest yet because they're still doing tests on his brain to see if they can find out what happened, but it's likely it was cot death.

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"I think back to what happened a lot. I was rushed into having him because he'd stopped growing in my womb – it was all a bit panicky for me.

"We didn't know if there was going to be anything wrong with him. In the event, he had a small hole in his heart, but the autopsy showed that had healed by the time he died.

"They said everything was fine and he was allowed home when he was six days old. He had just started smiling when he died."

Ms Thomas, who has a 20-month-old son, Jacob, by a former partner, while Mr Smith also has a five-year-old son, Michael.

She said: "Jacob takes my mind off things a lot. We weren't working at the time, but then the Drury Arms came calling and that also helps with the healing.

"We just want to raise as much money as possible for the baby unit. They were brilliant to us. They were short of beds at the time David was born and so hopefully the money we can bring in will help and give something back."

The grieving couple are showing their gratitude to staff by holding a fun day on Sunday at the Drury Arms to raise money for the ward.

Mr Smith said: "Although this has obviously been a very emotional and difficult time for us, we have never forgotten the care, help and support both us and our son was given.

"Now we just want to do something to say thank you and hopefully raise as much money as we can for the Special Care Baby Unit."

The fundraising, which includes a bouncy castle, fete stalls, raffles, a beat-the-goalie competition and a barbecue, will start at noon and continue into the evening.

Anne Ferris, family services directorate for the Special Baby Care Unit, said: "It is wonderful that this couple can think of us with everything they are going through and we are extremely grateful to them."

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