Cute Saul’s a calendar kid

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A new calendar starring local toddler Saul Wilton has gone on sale to raise funds for premature baby charity TinyLife.

Saul, aged two from Portrush, has been selected to star in the calendar alongside of 17 other babies, toddlers and children who experienced a difficult start to life following a premature birth.

The calendar, shot by Venture Photography, tells the stories of families with children who were born prematurely and have received support from TinyLife.

Saul was born at 34 weeks weighing 4lbs, 1oz at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. He spent a total of five months in hospital after he was born due to a chronic lung condition, spending time on two different neonatal units and a pediatric ward. He is the calendar’s ‘face of September’.

Saul’s mum Jane says TinyLife’s support when he was born was vital, in particular the use of the TinyLife family room at the hospital.

“We live in Portrush so commuting to and from the hospital impacted on the time we could spend with Saul. Being able to use the TinyLife family room was fantastic and made all the difference meaning we could be close to our little boy and use the onsite facilities.

“The five months Saul spent in hospital was a tense time for the whole family, but ongoing support from TinyLife during this period made a huge difference.

“Saul’s doing really well now and he’s a wee show off, which makes him perfect for the calendar. We’re delighted that he’s involved and that he helps give hope to other parents with premature babies.”

Julie McBride, Managing Director at Venture Photography Northern Ireland, says her team were pleased to be able to support the calendar for the fifth year running.

“The families with children in this calendar have remarkable stories to tell and we feel privileged to have been able to produce this calendar which will hopefully inspire others dealing with sick or premature children.

TinyLife is Northern Ireland’s only premature and vulnerable baby charity, dedicated to reducing illness, disability and death in babies and providing support for families who have been affected by these circumstances. Last year there were seven premature babies born every day in Northern Ireland.

Samara Prentice from TinyLife said: “All of the families involved have really enjoyed taking part and love the final result. We’re all really proud of our little calendar stars and hope the public gets a lot of enjoyment from the calendar when it goes on sale at the end of this month.”