The Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation (PPBF) has marked World Prematurity Day on Friday 17 November with the opening and naming of two properties in Southampton; ‘Aggie’s Burrow’ in memory of local schoolgirl Aggie Nicolle and ‘Isaac’s Pad’, a tribute to Isaac Pickford who was born prematurely in Guernsey.
The charity has worked tirelessly to raise much-needed funds for its Burrow Appeal, which launched in 2015. The appeal’s aim was for the charity to own a property close to Southampton General Hospital that would offer local families a comfortable place to stay while their little ones underwent vital hospital care.
Thanks to islanders’ generosity, fundraising campaigns such as ‘Buy-a-Brick’ and a substantial gift from a Guernsey-based charitable trust set up by Jim Wilkinson and his late wife Peggy, the charity was able to realise its ambitious goal to pass its total of £150,000 two years earlier than planned.
The appeal was further boosted when a second property was gifted to the charity, a two-bedroomed apartment, located within the same complex.
Many Guernsey businesses have also come on-board to breathe life into the campaign. Creaseys supplied the kitchen utensils, bedding and towels for both properties while White’s & Company offered their transportation services between Guernsey and the UK for free.
Will Law, from Beds1st, supplied beds and mattresses for both properties and Southampton-based APAD arranged delivery of all the beds and furniture.
As a gesture of thanks to all of the local companies and individuals that have supported the campaign, Dowding Signs and Tin Squirrel have created a ‘Wall of Fame’ mural, listing the charity’s supporters, that will be displayed in Aggie’s Burrow.
Aggie Nicolle was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in May 2014 and less than two years later the illness took her life. The PPBF’s accommodation near Southampton Hospital helped the family stay together as much as possible during Aggie’s treatment, and they have done much to support the charity in return.
Isaac Pickford was born prematurely in 2011 and was flown to Southampton for emergency surgery to fix a perforated bowel. Thankfully, the surgery saved his life but his parents endured several stressful weeks in the UK while he recuperated. Having stayed in a hotel some distance from the hospital, they were determined to try and raise enough money to purchase a flat closer to the hospital to support other parents finding themselves in the same situation.
Emma Nicolle, Aggie’s mum, said: ‘The PPBF is a charity very close to our hearts. The work that they do is fantastic and we are so proud that Aggie’s Burrow will be finally opening its doors to support local families. This will allow more people to benefit from the charity’s generosity and Aggie’s legacy will offer other local families some comfort during difficult times.’
Isaac’s Mum, Jo Pickford, said: ‘Rob and I will be forever grateful to all those involved in Isaac’s care and cannot express how incredibly lucky we feel to have such a healthy and happy son. We hope if you ever find yourselves needing to use Isaac’s Pad that it makes a very tough journey a little bit easier and gives you a home away from home.
Jo Priaulx, Founder of PPBF, said: ‘We are so proud that, together, we have realised our dream of creating two safe havens for local families to seek comfort during such a difficult time.
‘We’ve had so much support throughout this campaign and want to thank everyone who’s been involved. All of the fundraising efforts and generosity of our suppliers has helped us reach this incredible milestone and we’re hoping that the two properties will provide support to local families for years to come.’