The Special Care Baby Unit Appeal has been successful and has almost reached its £250,000 target, enabling the hospital charity to purchase equipment for the youngest patients at North Devon District Hospital (NNDH).

The hospital charity Over and Above appeal has enabled the unit to purchase three state of the art Draeger neonatal ventilators which cost almost £25,000 each.

These new machines will replace the old machines, which are now almost 25 years old.

Lead neonatal ward manager Liz Mills said: "We are delighted to receive the new ventilators - it is a dream come true.

"They will enable us to provide the very best support we can give to the babies on the ward during their stay with us. The ventilators help a baby breath by blowing oxygen-enriched air gently into the baby's lungs.

"The new ventilators have touch screens and will replace three pieces of equipment. They are also connected wirelessly to the trust's health patient records meaning less administration time for our nurses so that they can spend more time with the babies and new mums on the unit."

Over and Above fundraiser Julie Whitton added: "The people of North Devon have been amazing as always.

"Their fundraising together with grant funds, has enabled the hospital charity to purchase the Draeger neonatal ventilators, neonatal incubators, phototherapy devices, hot cots with control units, developmental soothers, care aids, breast pumps on stands as well as breast pumps for portable use which can be lent to new mums."

The funds have also bought iPads so mums can watch their baby from their beds, as well as toys for brothers and sisters to play with when they visit the unit.

Julie continued: "It is because of the overwhelming support from our fundraisers that we have been able to provide our Special Care Baby Unit with specialist neonatal medical equipment "over and above" that which the NHS can provide.

"This equipment really will make a difference to help our doctors and nurses support sick and vulnerable babies who are born early or with difficulties in North Devon."

To find out more about Over and Above visit www.overandabove.org.uk or call 01271 311772 or email ndht.charity@nhs.net