The sun definitely had its hat on for this year’s ‘Portstewart Pramble’.
More than 40 parents, grandparents, carers and children from two local parent and baby group’s, Baby Zone and Teenie Tots, took part in the pram push which was held last Saturday morning (May 31).
Now in it’s third year, this year’s Pramble was raising vital funds for Abigail’s Fund, a charity set up by a couple in England whose baby daughter sadly died. The funds, set up in her name, was to be use to buy powdered milk for babies in Ogugu, Nigeria, Sadly, these babies have lost their mothers during child birth. The powdered milk supplied by Abigail’s Fund (which is part of Mission Africa), provides the much need nutrition for babies until they are ready to be weaned.
Baby Zone, which meets every Friday afternoon in Portstewart Baptist Church (2-3:30pm), held the ‘Portstewart Pramble’ event for the first time to raise funds to thank the Bubble Foundation in Newcastle for their support after a tot from the group underwent a bone marrow transplant.
Oscar McLaughlin from Portstewart was diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) - a condition which affects the immune system, in December 2010.
At just seven months old, Oscar was airlifted from Belfast to the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle Upon Tyne, which specialises in treating the disorder, and he underwent a bone marrow transplant on 13 February 2011.
Before his illness, Oscar and his mum Olivia frequently attended Baby Zone and when the other mums heard about him, they decided to hold the ‘Portstewart Pramble’ to raise funds for the charity that had become so vital to the family while living away from home.
Karen Cox from Baby Zone explained: “As the first event was such a success, raising nearly £1,000 for the Bubble Foundation, Baby Zone decided to make the Pramble an annual event and raise much needed funds for other worthy childrens’ charities.
“Last year’s charity was Children’s Hospice in Northern Ireland and we raised over £700, which was totally amazing. However this year we discovered that a member of Baby Zone, Laura Morrison, works with Mission Africa in Ogugu and had seen first hand the work Abigail’s Fund was doing.
“With this in mind Baby Zone members decided that this should be the chosen charity and benefit from the money raised at this year’s event.”
And with help from Teenie Tots, another group from Portstewart Baptist, a staggering £902 was raised at the Pramble thanks to generous donations from participants and the general public. A fantastic handcrafted cake was also auctioned on the day and the children were entertained with a bouncy castle, face painting and a surprise visit form special guests Mickey and Minnie Mouse!
Karen from Baby Zone continued: “Following the success of the Pramble, we have emailed Laura, who is in Nigeria at minute and couldn’t be at the Pramble, to tell her we raised over £900. She emailed back absolutely thrilled as she didn’t expect half the amount. She has said they are going to use the money to buy Moses baskets, as the babies have no beds, as well as baby powder and mosquito nets. It’s great to think that we have made such a difference to the lives of children in Nigeria and that the Moses baskets will be continually used and a reminder of the Portstewart Pramble.
“We would all just like to thank everyone who supported our Pramble, for once the sun was shining down on us. Massive thanks go to those who took part in the walk, those who made and dished out the refreshments for the thirsty and hungry walkers and to anyone who gave a donation of time and money - it made the morning such a great success.
“Finally, I would like to send a huge hug to Olivia, Oscar and Alice who once again came along to support us. It’s great to see Oscar doing so well and helping us raise funds at an event which originally began for him.
“Amazingly we have raised £902 and money is still coming in which really is something to be proud of.”
Finally, huge appreciation goes to Portstewart Baptist Church for the use of their venue and facilities.
Baby Zone and Teenie Tots (Monday mornings 10am to 11.30am) will run until June when they close for the summer holidays. They will resume in September.
More pictures in this week’s Times!