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World Prematurity Day celebrated in Southend

23 November 2015

Health Care

With over 60,000 premature babies born in the UK every year World Prematurity Day aims to raise awareness about prematurity and the life-saving equipment needed to give these ‘early’ babies the best start in life.

A stand hosted by the neonatal unit of Southend University Hospital and the charity Ickle Pickles did just that in one of its main entrances on the day, Tuesday 17 November.

It was hard to miss the incubator with a model of a premature baby that helped highlight the real difference donations and equipment can make to lives of premature newborns and their families.

Kara Gerrie, a neonatal staff nurse at Southend, explained: "Of the nearly 3,300 babies that will have been born at Southend Hospital this year 140 were born prematurely, so it's great to have been working closely with Ickle Pickles to help provide us with vital equipment and we hope to be working with them lots in the future."

Ickle Pickles have been operating for the last six-and-a-half years and have raised over £1.4 million in that time and pride themselves on being a national charity with a local focus so that people money raised locally that goes to that local neonatal unit.

Rachael Marsh, a trustee of Ickle Pickles and mum of a premature baby, said: "Our motto is small babies, big difference so it's been great to have been here spreading the word on the stand. We buy equipment for neonatal units, like Southend and have just purchased a £4,500 vapotherm which helps the babies breath by opening up their lungs."

As part of the World Prematurity Day buildings around the world were encouraged to 'turn purple' with the likes of the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, Blackpool Tower and even Southend Borough Council's offices turning a shade of purple in recognition.