New Year success for Little Lives Appeal

Oliver Newman
Oliver Newman
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A SCHOOLBOY whose life was saved by Milton Keynes Neonatal Unit has raised more than £200 towards its Little Lives Appeal.

St Mary and St Giles School pupil Oliver Newman, born 12 weeks prematurely, helped raise £4,600 for the appeal, which could save the lives of hundreds of premature babies.

The donation was one part of a double boost for the appeal just before the New Year.

First, pupils at St Mary and St Giles in Stony Stratford handed over their impressive amount, raised via an Apprentice style scheme which saw budding Alan Sugars turning business ideas into cash.

Then generous author Cris Beswick donated £3,000, money he had raised by winning Sky Atlantic show ‘The Devil’s Dinner Party’.

The Little Lives Appeal, backed by Milton Keynes Citizen, is raising money to improve facilities at the Neonatal Unit.

The cash injections mean the appeal has now raised more than £185,000 of its £250,000 target. The much needed money will go towards four new cots, a new parent’ area and disabled facilities.

The unit helps more than 350 premature and sick babies every year, but due to lack of space it had to turn 30 babies away in the past two years.

Children at St Mary and St Giles raised their cash by taking part in the £1 Challenge for Little Lives. Each pupil was given a pound – donated by John Lewis – and asked to come up with a business idea that would generate money.

Headmaster Kieran Salter said the children, several of whom had been treated or had a sibling treated at the Neonatal Unit, had taken the challenge to heart.

“We’ve had some highly imaginative business ideas and the reports the children produced were bright, colourful and so much fun to read,” he said.

“We are thrilled to have raised so much money for the appeal.”

Oliver raised £220 after selling a comic book he had written to the public and at car book fairs.

His mother Lene said: “While this is a school project, it has become a family project for us as the cause is very close to our heart because Oliver was born 12 weeks prematurely.

“We remember with gratitude, admiration and humility, the care and attention given to Oliver as our family’s fate was left in the hands of the Neonatal Unit. We will be eternally grateful to the team. It is a privilege to give a little bit back.”

If any schools want to carry out their own £1 Challenge they should contact hospital fundraising manager Vanessa Holmes on 01908 826690 or via

The second donation came from author Mr Beswick, whose tomes include ‘The Road to Innovation’.

Mr Beswick, who is also an associate of Cranfield University, won ‘The Devil’s Dinner Party’, a unique popularity contest which sees six dinner guests compete against each other for a cash prize. The show won by Mr Beswick was shown on Wednesday, December 28.

He said: “My wife, Nikki, and I have supported the Little Lives Appeal for some time and I knew as soon as I was told I had won that it was where I wanted the prize money to go.

“The Neonatal team at Milton keynes Hospital do such a fantastic job and every penny they receive goes directly to help them save the lives of premature babies and those born with difficulties.”