Lady Sarra Hoy, wife of Olympics legend Chris, explains why the work of premature baby charity Bliss is so vital

Lady Sarra Hoy, wife of Olympics legend Chris, explains why the work of premature baby charity Bliss is so vital

Callum was born 11 weeks early, weighing just 2lb 2oz, in October 2014, and spent his first two months in hospital.

During this harrowing time, Lady Sarra and Sir Chris could only wait and pray that their precious first child would survive.

She is now an ambassador for Bliss, the UK’s leading charity for premature and poorly newborns, which we are raising money for in our Light Up Christmas appeal.

Here she recalls her experience and tells why Bliss’s work is so vital.

“Ask my son what he wants from Father Christmas and he’ll tell you “Big Ben”. It’s an odd choice for a four-year-old but he is obsessed with the London landmark and its famous bongs.

“I often wonder if it stems from the first eight weeks of his life, when his newborn ears were filled with the beeps and chimes of the machines that kept him alive.

“Callum was born 11 weeks early, weighing just 2lb 2oz.

“At 27 weeks pregnant, I fell ill with what I thought was terrible heartburn. Due to a diagnosis of severe pre-eclampsia, Callum was delivered by emergency Caesarean section and rushed to intensive care.

“I didn’t get to meet my son until he was a day old. In a plastic incubator, covered in tubes and wires, he looked very ill and like a fragile, featherless bird.

How to help


DONATE BY TEXT: Sending BLISS followed by the amount (e.g. BLISS £10) to 70085. You can choose to donate £1, £3, £5, £10, £15 or £20. You will be charged the standard network rate when texting your keyword.

DONATE BY PHONE: Call 020 7378 5740.

DONATE BY POST: Please make cheques payable to “Bliss – ­National Charity for the Newborn” to Freepost RTZJ-GZYE-RCUA, The Sun Appeal, Bliss, Fourth Floor, Maya House, 134-138 Borough High Street, London SE1 1LB.

“I was scared to touch Callum in case I hurt his paper-thin skin. No one could tell us he was going to be OK and we were told to take it hour by hour. Then that became day by day. I remember going home, without a baby in my arms. I was overwhelmed with sadness.

“Then each day you travel back to the hospital to visit your baby, who is fed through a tube. When you get to cuddle your baby, you worry you might damage them.

“Callum came home in time for Christmas but still a few weeks before his due date. He was over 4lb but still seemed so frail.

“Having a baby on a neonatal unit is a lonely place. Having someone to turn to for help would have made all the difference.

“We didn’t have a Bliss volunteer on our unit, but the work they do is so important. One in eight UK babies are admitted to a neonatal unit. Bliss aims to be able to reach all of them and their families. It provides a phone helpline for parents and trained volunteers attend neonatal units.

“By listening and providing advice, Bliss gives parents the confidence to get involved with their baby’s care and ask questions of medical staff.

Newborn baby appeal


OR CALL: 020 7378 574

BUY A BEAR: You can buy one from Bliss here.

“And Bliss is there for you even after you leave hospital, when you no longer have the neonatal staff to guide you.

“Every time I look at Callum, I’m thankful he is here. He’s our pride and joy, as is our one-year-old girl Chloe.

“Next year Callum starts school. He’s a happy little boy and loves riding his pedal bike.

“But not as much as he loves Big Ben.”

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