Sweet occasion in memory of Winnie

Guests enjoying the Sweetheart Ball in aid of The Baby Beat Appeal at Royal Preston Hospital
Guests enjoying the Sweetheart Ball in aid of The Baby Beat Appeal at Royal Preston Hospital
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A mum who lost her baby girl eight years ago raised more than £5,000 through a heart-warming event with family and friends.

Laura Palmer, of Broughton, and her pal Sarah Locker, of Grimsargh, organised a black-tie Sweetheart Ball at Bartle Hall Country Hotel in aid of The Baby Beat Appeal.

Guests enjoying the Sweetheart Ball in aid of The Baby Beat Appeal at Royal Preston Hospital

Guests enjoying the Sweetheart Ball in aid of The Baby Beat Appeal at Royal Preston Hospital

The pair have supported the charity ever since Laura and Ben’s daughter Winnie died at birth in 2009.

The 33-year-old says: “My family and I have raised funds for Baby Beat since losing Winnie, my only daughter in 2009.

“We have raised over £9,000 with a variety of events and have been well supported by family and friends.”

Mum-of-two Sarah, 32, adds: “Having been to so many of the Baby Beat balls over the past eight years, Laura and I decided to organise our own and we were blown away with the amount of support we received.

Guests enjoying the Sweetheart Ball in aid of The Baby Beat Appeal at Royal Preston Hospital

Guests enjoying the Sweetheart Ball in aid of The Baby Beat Appeal at Royal Preston Hospital

“In addition to Laura, several of my friends have lost babies and I couldn’t think of a better cause to raise funds for.”

Around 150 people attended the ball, which included a four-course meal, entertainment from four-piece band Sideline, and even pink candy floss as an extra treat for guests. An auction and grand raffle helped to bring in the funds, which reached more than £5,000.

Baby Beat charity manager Karen Entwistle says: “We are extremely grateful to Laura and Sarah who we know worked tirelessly to pull this event together.

“The funds raised went towards purchasing a RETCAM monitor a highly specialised camera that takes digital images of the retina of babies, who are at risk of developing a sight threatening condition known as Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), if they are below a certain birth weight.

Organisers of the Sweetheart Ball, Laura Palmer and Sarah Locker

Organisers of the Sweetheart Ball, Laura Palmer and Sarah Locker

“Failure to diagnose and treat the condition in a timely manner can result in blindness.

“With this new machine, images can be taken in Preston avoiding the need for newborn babies to travel to Liverpool and Manchester.”

Baby Beat is a registered charity, established 30 years ago to provide funding for the two maternity units and neo natal unit which are part of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

It is with their funding that the units are able to stay at the very forefront of new and innovative technology to date for babies born within the community.

Laura and Ben Palmer (Winnie's parents) at the Sweetheart Ball

Laura and Ben Palmer (Winnie's parents) at the Sweetheart Ball