Portsmouth couple donate £30,000 to premature baby unit in son’s memory

Ryan and Robyn Bendon, from Cosham, have raised �30,000 for the neo-natal intensive care unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital in memory of their son Jesse who died shortly after being born at 23 weeks. 'Picture: Malcolm Wells
Ryan and Robyn Bendon, from Cosham, have raised �30,000 for the neo-natal intensive care unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital in memory of their son Jesse who died shortly after being born at 23 weeks. 'Picture: Malcolm Wells
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MORE than £30,000 has been raised for equipment to help treat premature babies and support their families.

Robyn and Ryan Bendon, from Portsmouth, have been fundraising for the past year in memory of their son Jesse who died aged three weeks.

We want to thank everyone who has shown us support

Ryan Bendon

He was treated by the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, after being born at 23 weeks and five days.

Following his death, Robyn and Ryan set up Jesse’s Dreams and have been collecting money since.

Thanks to the generous donations of family and friends and people who have attended fundraising events, £36,000 has been raised.

From that, £30,000 has been donated to QA’s NICU for an incubator and all its equipment, breast milk warmers, books and silk sheets.

The remaining £6,000 will be used to support the families of premature babies.

Robyn, 32, from Cosham, said: ‘It is amazing to be handing over this money.

‘It has allowed us to get closure because it has been a long year.

‘We want everyone to see what their kind donations have done and the difference it will make for premature babies.’

The married couple knew they wanted to give something back to NICU shortly after Jesse died as a way to show their appreciation for the caring work of the staff.

Ryan, 34, added: ‘Losing Jesse was terrible for us but knowing we have raised this money and we can save someone else’s baby with this incubator means a lot.’

To help raise the cash, Robyn and Ryan organised music festivals, family fun days, a cabaret music night and other events across the area.

They also got support from the Hampshire Skinhead Association when its founding member Keith Thripp got names tattooed on his bottom in exchange for donations.

Ryan said: ‘We want to thank everyone who has shown us support.

‘All our family and friends have been really supportive and we wouldn’t have raised so much without them.

‘A lot of other people also helped and we are really grateful, we want to say a huge thanks.’

Joanne Church, senior sister of the NICU, thanked the couple for their donation and the difference it will make to the unit.

She said: ‘It means a lot that a couple have gone through so much effort to fundraise for us.

‘It is such an amazing amount of money.

‘It will go a long way in purchasing some equipment for the unit.’

For more information on Jesse’s Dreams visit facebook.com/jessesdreams