Norwich couple’s fundraising quest in memory of baby Beatrice

Beatrice Octavia Iris Smith, who died just 12 weeks old. She had heart failure caused by restrictive cardiomyopathy and now her parents, Leigh and Toby Smith are fundraising in her memory for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Beatrice Octavia Iris Smith, who died just 12 weeks old. She had heart failure caused by restrictive cardiomyopathy and now her parents, Leigh and Toby Smith are fundraising in her memory for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Kim Briscoe kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk
Saturday, April 12, 2014
6:30 AM

She was six weeks old when she was diagnosed with a rare heart condition, but Beatrice Octavia Iris Smith fought bravely for another six weeks of her short life before she died in her mother’s arms.

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With a crop of flame-red hair, stunning brown eyes and a winning smile, the youngster captured people’s hearts. And now her parents Leigh and Toby are hoping to buy a heart and lung bypass machine in her memory.

The couple, from Warwick Street in Norwich, said they would “miss her every second of every day” and told how they were extremely grateful to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), the East Anglian’s Children’s Hospice (EACH) at Quidenham and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) for their amazing care and support.

Beatrice was born on November 28, 2013, a little sister to Elliott, three and a half.

The couple, who met at the University of East Anglia, said: “She was small but seemingly healthy and we couldn’t have been happier as a family. For six weeks we enjoyed a normal life as a new family of four, enjoying Christmas with our beautiful Bea.”

But on January 10, she became unwell and the family GP sent her to the children’s assessment unit at the N&N.

It was discovered that she was in cardiac failure and that something was wrong with her heart. It was later confirmed by GOSH that she had a very rare disease of the cardiac muscle called restrictive cardiomyopathy.

Her struggle continued, and Mrs Smith said: “Sadly her mountain proved too hard to climb for someone so young and she became frailer and weaker. As a mother watching this was agony. On February 24 she sadly passed away in my arms at Great Ormond Street, holding her mummy and daddy’s hands. We were and are devastated.”

The family have started up the Beatrice Octavia Iris Smith Brighter Future Fund to raise £43,000 for a heart and lung bypass machine for GOSH, and are appealing for businesses and individual to help by donating raffle prizes.

Mrs Smith, a physiotherapist in orthopaedics at the NNUH, is organising a series of events to raise money for the fund.

As well as a cycle ride and raffle, details of which are yet to finalised, the couple will hold a coffee morning from 10am to midday on Tuesday, July 8, at Cringleford Pavilion in Oakfields Road. More information is available at www.justgiving.com/Friends-of-the-Smiths and www.facebook.com/BeatriceOctaviaIris

■ To donate a raffle prize or to donate to the fund, please email leighdavies1981@hotmail.com

■ Do you have an inspirational fundraising story? Email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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