Charity thanks for life-saving Barnstaple baby unit

Joseph Bulmer

Holidaymakers return to raise money for the Ladywell Unit at NDDH, which delivered an unexpected and very early surprise during their North Devon holiday last year

A grateful holidaymaking couple have staged a charity cycle from Bristol to North Devon on behalf of the hospitals that saved their daughter’s life when she was born prematurely.

Sarah and Andrew Wigmore were staying at Stowford Meadow near Ilfracombe in July last year when their first child put in an unexpected appearance 13 weeks early.

Baby Isla was born by emergency Caesarean on July 4 weighing just two pounds three ounces and staff at North Devon District Hospital’s Ladywell Maternity Unit battled for six minutes to get her breathing started.

She was transferred to a ventilator and then to Southmead Maternity Unit in Bristol where she had to be resuscitated another three times during her 14 week stay in hospital.

Today she is a happy, healthy one-year-old and ingratitude Sarah and Andrew plus several of their work colleagues decided to hold a fund raising bike ride between the two hospitals on behalf of both maternity units.

Despite poor weather they arrived at the Barnstaple hospital on Sunday as planned.

The Bristol couple had been on holiday here with other family members and had no idea of the drama that was about to unfold.

“Most people come home from holiday with a stick of rock, not a baby,” said 30-year-old Sarah.

“The care was absolutely amazing. At the time I was convinced the baby was dead and didn’t think she would survive. But now she is fantastic and you wouldn’t know she had been born that early.

“We were incredibly lucky as the consultant was just about to go home at the end of their shift. All the staff were fantastic and if it had not been for them, chances are she would not be here. They gave her a fighting chance and it was the same at Southmead.”

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