Grandfather's gratitude to hospital

A PENSIONER from Essex is raising money to say thank you to the hospital that saved his courageous granddaughter's life.Ernie Jones has arranged a party in his residential home in Clacton-on-Sea for 17-year-old Melanie Jones to celebrate her recovery.

A PENSIONER from Essex is raising money to say thank you to the hospital that saved his courageous granddaughter's life.

Ernie Jones has arranged a party in his residential home in Clacton-on-Sea for 17-year-old Melanie Jones to celebrate her recovery.

Melanie, who lives in Jaywick, was born with a serious heart problem and a curved spine. When she was 17 days old she had her first operation and has been in hospital a total of seven times since.

In January she went to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge to have essential surgery.


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Mr Jones, 82, said: "The last operation saved Melanie's life. Without it her lung could have been punctured and she could have died."

Surgeons had to remove two of Melanie's ribs, so one of her lungs could be pulled forward, and took out a piece of her spine, replacing it with a flexible piece of metal.

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But brave Melanie was back at home within 10 days, with an extra two inches of height.

She said: "I was determined to get better and I didn't like staying in bed.

"Now I am taller I feel a lot more confident. Before I was really bent over."

Mr Jones is delighted his granddaughter is now well and wanted to show how much he appreciated the hospital's staff.

He said: "I want to give the hospital some money to say a big thank you to the staff on the children's ward and to celebrate how well Melanie has done. I am very proud of her."

Melanie said: "The hospital was like my second home because I spent so long there and everyone really looked after me well.

"I'm a bit embarrassed my Granddad is throwing a party for me. I guess I want to put it all behind me."

Maria Clover, who is the warden of Mr Jones's home, is helping with the arrangements.

She said: "Ernie was the first person to come to live here 19 years ago and all the residents have seen Melanie grow up as she has come to visit him.

"They were all concerned about her operation. Every time Ernie stepped out of his flat someone would ask how she was.

"I am amazed at her recovery. It's like her life has been given back to her and she has lost all the insecurities she had about her body. She's like a new person."

Melanie said she had felt held back from what she wanted to do before the operation, but now she is keen to look to the future.

She said: " I can't go to work for 18 months, as my body's got to fully recover. It will be a holiday just because I don't have to go to hospital.

"I would really like to be a social worker and care for disabled people. My step-Mum and step-sister, who I live with, are both partially disabled so I think I've got a good insight into the problems disabled people face."

Mr Jones said: "We've already raised £100 for the hospital so hopefully we will raise a lot more.

"I am really grateful to the hospital for looking after Melanie and getting her where she is today. The party is to say congratulations and well done to her."

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