Children’s unit gets £50k upgrade in memory of Abbie

Posted on in Fundraising

The Children’s Day Unit at The James Cook University Hospital has been given a £50,000 makeover thanks to the generosity of local charity Abbie’s Love.

Chill out room

The charity was founded by Richard and Tracy Clarke in memory of their 10-year-old daughter Abbie, who they lost to sudden unexpected death in epilepsy on 1 December 2006.

Abbie’s legacy lives on through the charity which has raised more than £360,000 over the past 10 years to help other children and young people with epilepsy.

More than £135,000 of this has been donated to South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to help fund vital research, neurosciences facilities, staff training and specialist equipment for children to use at home.

Most recently the charity pledged £50,000 towards the upgrade of the Children’s Day Unit at the Middlesbrough hospital.

The major revamp has seen the creation of:

  • a reception and waiting areaPool table
  • four new consultation rooms where children can be assessed in a more private environment
  • a nurses station within the main observation bay to improve visibility and communication
  • a young people’s “chill area” to allow older children and young people to socialise and de-stress in a more suitable environment

The work has also been supported by a generous donation from The James Cook University Hospital Voluntary Services.

Abbies Love plaqueRichard and Tracy officially opened the unit on Friday 2 December, almost 10 years to the day that they lost Abbie. They were joined by two children, Billy Maskell, 6, and Tom Donaghy, 7,  who use the day unit and have been supported by the charity.

Richard said: “It’s just nice to do this after 10 years. It’s the biggest thing we have donated to the hospital so far and it will help thousands of children.”

Cathy Brammer, matron for children’s and neonatal services said the changes have made a major impact on the day to day running of the unit, making better use of space and enabling children to be assessed more quickly.Ribbon cutting

“We are so grateful to Abbie’s Love and all of its supporters who, through their generosity, have enabled us to upgrade our unit to benefit children and families from the local community,” she said.

“Richard and Tracy are amazing people and have been fully supportive throughout the completion of the work which has been staggered due to the need of the service to remain open throughout.

“It is very fitting that we acknowledge all of their efforts at this time, as 1 December marks the 10 year anniversary of the sudden and tragic death of their daughter Abbie Jane. Her legacy and love lives on in all the charity do to support local causes and we are so thankful.”