Santa’s sleigh helps to raise money nearly £900 for neonatal unit

Pictured with the cheque for My Wish are the Father Christmas team along with Lorcan Cook in the centre with Maija Blagg, the matron of the neonatal unit, and Danni Fletcher, senior staff nurse. Photo: My WiSH Charity.

Santa’s Sleigh touring round the streets of Long Melford has helped to raise funds for the neonatal unit at the West Suffolk Hospital.

A total of £894.28 was raised by Pip Cook and her team of willing helpers following their journey through the village just a couple of days before Christmas.

The money has been donated to the My WiSH Charity, which supports the work of the hospital in Bury St Edmunds, with it being directed towards the unit where Pip’s son Lorcan was treated. 

And because he celebrated his 18th birthday in November the fundraising took on special meaning.

Pip was helped with the festive run by Becky Gridley and Katie Green and supported by a host of family, friends and children with her husband Gerald, who built the sleigh, driving it round the village.

The Father Christmas sleigh on its travels around Long Melford. Photo: Pip Cook.

“The unit saved his (Lorcan) life when he was born. He became unwell when we brought him home, but our midwife told us to get him back to the hospital and just a few minutes after we got him there he stopped breathing but the unit treated him and he got better,” she said.

“We try and take in as many of the roads in the village as possible around the route which is eight miles in total and there seemed to be more people around than before and it took our breath away really.”

Gary Aitken, who is the caretaker at the village’s primary school dressed up as Father Christmas and Pip said he knows many youngsters in the village and shouted out their names on the journey which left many of the parents along the route amazed.

Last year the group raised £350.30 for the WiSH Upon A Star appeal and Pip was thrilled with this year’s total.

She added: “The community really rallied round and were just so generous and phenomenal with their donations.

“We were blown away and emotional about it as people were just so kind and supportive.”

Sally Daniels, fundraising manager for My WiSH, said: “Huge thanks to everyone involved in helping Father Christmas travel around Long Melford.  It was a pleasure to be able to bring Pip and Lorcan back to the neonatal unit 18 years later. It certainly brought it all back for Pip and, as Maija has worked there for 18 years, she knew the staff that Pip remembered which was lovely.”

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