A special charity evening raised more than £2,000 for the Countess of Chester Hospital’s Babygrow Appeal.
Friends Louise Purcell and Claire Barton met when a mutual friend suggested they talked, since both had had experience of giving birth to premature babies.
Louise, from Upton, had her daughter Beatrice at just 28 weeks in October 2011 at Arrowe Park Hopsital because there were no beds available in Chester.
Thankfully, other than a slight bleed on the brain which later rectified itself naturally, Beatrice, who weighed just 2lb 13oz, was perfectly healthy, and was soon moved to the special baby care unit until a bed became available in the special care baby unit at The Countess.
Louise said: “I will forever be indebted to the staff at the unit who were a constant support from the moment we stepped through the doors.
“The doctors and nurses who looked after Beatrice were superb and always had time to talk, no matter how busy they were – she finally came home just before Christmas so we were all able to celebrate a family Christmas together.”
Shortly afterwards, a mutual friend told Louise about Claire, whose son Samuel had been born 10 weeks early, and the two decided to meet.
Their shared experience compelled them to learn more about the hospital’s Babygrow Appeal, which has set a target of ï¿½3million to build a new neonatal unit more than double the current size.
Louise, who has two other young children, said: “After my experience at the Countess, and hearing about The Babygrow Appeal, I got the opportunity to join the fundraising committee which I did without hesitation.
“Claire and I had been chatting about a fundraising event we could arrange together and we decided to host a fabulous ladies night to raise money for the Babygrow Appeal.”
The event, held at Brownlow's Bespoke Furniture Show Room in Great Barrow, was a great success, featuring champagne and canapes, a fashion show by leading French designer Captain Tortue, leather handbags, jewellery, handmade candles and cookery demonstrations.
Louise and Claire were thrilled to learn the event raised £2,000.
“We received so many amazing comments about the night, and with the first one million pounds just being reached, it's so important we get to our target of £3million pounds – it's events like this that will make all the difference,” said Louise.
“We are so grateful and glad of the amazing support, help and care provided by the neo-natal unit at The Countess – we just wanted to give something back.”