SCORES of people braved the cold weather to walk 20 miles for tiny babies.
Fundraisers joined Lorraine Blackburn, from Ickle Pickles, for the early morning set off from Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, on Saturday.
Each of the walkers had a personal reason for taking part – either their child had needed the expertise at the neonatal units at QA and St Richard’s in Chichester, or they know someone who has been through the trauma of watching their baby fighting for life.
One of those is 25-year-old Natalie Lord, of Conan Road, Hilsea.
Her twin boys were born at 34 weeks and spent two-and-a-half weeks in the neonatal unit.
She said: ‘Liam and Connor had trouble breathing and were jaundiced so they had to go in an incubator. They needed a lot of help at first.
‘They are four now and slowly getting there. But when I heard what Lorraine was doing I knew I had to take part.
‘I had a blood clot in my leg a few years ago and it became very swollen so I had to finish at around 18 miles.
‘But it was a really great day. It was good fun and, not only did my husband Mark and I raise £260, as a group we also raised a lot of awareness.’
Lorraine and husband Chris were inspired to fundraise for Ickle Pickles by their son Owen.
He was born prematurely at 26 weeks weighing 1lb 10oz.
Sadly, after fighting through a series of setbacks, he died at 12 weeks in 2009.
Chris came up with the idea of a sponsored walk.
The couple is determined to help the charity she now works for to smash the £1m fundraising mark this year.
They are currently on £850,000 and they hope to make big strides with the weekend’s walk.
‘The walk was really good,’ said Lorraine.
‘It was very tearful for some of us at the end; there were a few who became very emotional. We had raised about £8,000 by the end of the day.’
Saturday’s walk saw around 65 people set off from QA and walk over Portsdown Hill, down through Farlington and along Eastern Road, through Southsea to Gunwharf Quays.
From there, the group walked to Commercial Road, through North End and back to QA.
To donate go to icklepickles.org.