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coastguardrescue104helicopterchequepresentationbembridgeA variety of charities have received a share of £36,030 following a cheque presentation against the unusual backdrop of a Coastguard helicopter at Bembridge Airport last Wednesday (28th September).

The magnificent sum has been raised by Tesco and the tireless efforts of Island residents Leanda Collins and Neil Riley, the parents of Betsy Rose Riley who lost her fight for life at Southampton General Hospital in March this year.

Born 15 weeks prematurely and suffering from a rare condition, Betsy Rose lived for just 52 heartbreaking days. During this time Leanda and Neil were able to have free ‘home away from home’ accommodation nearby at Ronald McDonald House Southampton.

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southamptonhospitalcharitylogoThe 4 charities benefiting from a summer of fundraising by the family, particularly a Betsy Rose Ramble and in-store fundraising in July by Tesco staff, are Southampton Hospital Charity; The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance; The Coastguard Association and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Betsy’s mum, Leanda, says:

“We wanted to raise as much money as possible for these charities as they are so close to our hearts after helping us care for our daughter. The time we spent with Betsy Rose will always be the most treasured time of our lives and we owe so many thanks to everyone who helped us and enabled us to have our special moments with her.”

Judith Stephens, Events and Community Fundraiser at Southampton Hospital Charity, says:

“We are so thankful to the Riley family and Tesco stores for raising around £9,000 for the neonatal unit in Southampton. The walk was an incredible collaboration between all four charities, and was very successful in promoting each cause.”

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“Our neonatal unit provides specialist care to sick term and pre-term (premature) newborn babies. It is one of the largest neonatal units in the country treating around 750 babies a year, from Southampton, Poole & Bournemouth, Chichester, Dorchester, Basingstoke, the Isle of Wight, Salisbury, Winchester and the Channel Islands.  The money will allow us to buy a video laryngoscope which helps secure (open) the patients with difficult airways.”

Michelle Duma, Manager of Ronald McDonald House Southampton, has added:

“Our catchment area is very broad and parents living off the mainland need special help to be near their sick child in hospital.  We were so pleased to be able to offer Leanda and Neil a home next to the hospital so that they could concentrate their energies on little Betsy Rose and know that eating and sleeping were taken care of.”

Guests at the presentation were able to tour the Coastguard helicopter, which is based at Lee-on-Solent.


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