Norwich hospital nurses prepare for London marathon

Two nurses from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital are running the London Marathon this weekend, a year later than they had planned.

Anna Smith and Sarah Cole both work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the N&N and are running the race to raise �4,000 to buy a vapotherm device that uses non-invasive oxygen therapy to help critically ill and premature babies breathe.

The NICU at the N&N, which is one of only two highly specialist level three units in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, looks after more than 700 babies a year.

Miss Cole lives in Norwich and Miss Smith commutes from Ipswich, but there is no cross-border rivalry, it is all about improving the care of the children they look after.

'We want to go round together,' said Miss Cole. 'We were supposed to run it together last year, but I got a virus and the doctors advised me to stop training.

'I'm really looking forward to it because I have watched the marathon on TV ever since I was young and I've always said I was going to do it one year.'

The pair have known each other since Miss Smith, 37, started working with Miss Cole, 28, in the NICU around four years ago.

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They both ran in the City of Norwich half marathon and despite Miss Smith having a slight foot injury, she said she can't wait for the race to get under way.

'I didn't stop smiling the whole way round last year, it was an amazing experience', she added.

'We raised �1,500 last year so we did pretty well, but it was not enough to get the machine for the NICU that we wanted, so hopefully we can do that this year.'

If you would like to donate to the duo's campaign, cheques should be made payable to The Norwich Children's Fund and sent to: Communications, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Colney Lane, Norwich, NR4 7UY.