Duo produce quilts ‘with love’ for babies in West Suffolk Hospital’s neonatal unit

Gill Swash and Barbara Bailey with the miracle blanket

Gill Swash and Barbara Bailey with the miracle blanket - Credit: Archant

Babies receiving additional care in West Suffolk Hospital’s neonatal unit are being given extra comfort and reassurance – thanks to the generosity of two quilters who are dedicating their time to making blankets.

Personal assistants Gill Swash and Barbara Bailey have spent the past three months skillfully crafting small quilts which they then donate to the neonatal unit.

Parents whose babies stay in hospital for more than three weeks are able to choose a blanket as a reminder of their journey and to take with them when they return home.

The duo started making the quilts, which are known as ‘miracle blankets’, after Gill saw the idea in a craft magazine. They hope eventually to provide enough blankets so that every baby in the neonatal unit can take one home – and are appealing for other people to come forward and help them reach their goal.

“I thought the blankets were a really lovely idea as they help alleviate the stress of being in the neonatal unit and bring a bit of pleasure at the same time,” said Gill, who has been quilting for two years.

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“They are made with love for much-loved babies, and we hope that they will act as a reminder of those precious first few months for both the baby and their parents.”

Between them they have so far made about 25 quilts in a range of different designs for both boys and girls, and every single one is different.

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Karen Ranson, ward manager of the neonatal unit, said: “These blankets are a fantastic keepsake for families and we’ve received some wonderful feedback from parents.

“We are really grateful to Gill and Barbara for all their hard work in creating these fantastic quilts which are a really special reminder of those first precious few months of life.”

The Cosy Cabin at Risby Barns has arranged a day-long session on 9 January for anyone who wants to learn to create a miracle blanket. More details will be available on its website. The duo are also appealing for anyone who can create a blanket, or donate 100% cotton fabric to them, to get in touch by emailing gill.swash@wsh.nhs.uk

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