Holt’s magic boots boost cots appeal

Canaries striker Grant Holt has boosted the Cots for Tots appeal by auctioning off the boots he wore to fire in hat-trick against Ipswich.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's �500,000 appeal to buy four new cots for its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has now reached the �17,000 mark.

Norwich City skipper Grant Holt helped bump up the total by presenting a cheque for �1,551.23, which was raised following an auction of the boots he wore when he booked his place in the Canaries' history books by scoring three goals against arch rivals Ipswich Town.

NICU nurse manager Amanda Williamson said: 'We are keenly aware how difficult it can be for families who sometimes have to travel long distances to enable their baby to receive care because all our high dependency and intensive care cots are in use.

'The expansion of cots will mean that more families are able to stay locally while their baby receives the care they need.

'We are very grateful to all those who have made donations to this appeal and would like to encourage others to make a donation no matter how large all small, everything little will help to make a difference to these families'.

More than 850 babies each year are cared for at the unit, but demand is rising and it needs to expand. Currently the unit can look after 28 babies at any one time, but as one of only three specialist neonatal units in the East and serving families from across Norfolk and Suffolk and beyond, it can regularly be full.

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Half a million pounds would pay for four more intensive care or high-dependency incubators, and the associated building work and kitting-out needed.

With the public's help, Nicu hopes to get the four new cots up and running by autumn 2011.

Consultant neonatologist Dr Mark Dyke said: 'All mums and dads start a pregnancy hoping and expecting to have a healthy baby. When problems arise, through premature birth or serious illness a baby may need our help. As our knowledge and equipment gets better, we are able to do more and more each year for such critically ill babies and, for most, there is still a happy ending.

'We hate to turn away a baby who needs our help as we know that they may have to travel a long way to receive the care they need so we urgently need to create more spaces to be able to offer the best care to even more babies each year from our region.'

Donations can be made online at www.justgiving.com/norwichnicu, or cheques, payable to the NNUH NHS Foundation Trust with 'NICU Cot Expansion Fund F300' written on the back of the cheque, can be sent to Communications, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Colney Lane, Norwich, NR4 7UY.

Are you fundraising for Cots for Tots? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk.