Donations from fantastic fundraising events totalling almost £30,000 have enabled a hospital unit which looks after sick babies to purchase vital equipment.

Dorset County Hospital's Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) received £25,000 from Maiden Castle Farm's Sunflower Trail event last year and organiser Hazel Hoskin and her son Thomas visited the unit to see the new equipment which had been purchased following their major donation.

More recently, the SCBU was further boosted by a £3,500 donation from the parents of premature baby Dylan Baker - born at just 24 weeks - to say thank you for the care he received.

The Sunflower Trail was launched at the Dorchester farm last year to mark Thomas' 18th birthday and to recognise the work of SCBU which had treated him as a baby.

SCBU staff decided they wanted to spend the £25,000 on a special brain monitor which is used to scan and monitor brainwaves in premature babies.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

Hazel and Thomas Hoskin with the Cerebral Monitor    Picture: DCH

SCBU Manager Dominic Sheehy said: “This equipment is a fantastic resource which we can use to provide extra care for infants at risk of brain damage.

"We can now check and monitor the electrical brainwave activity of new-born babies quickly and safely and decide whether they can be treated in our unit or need to be transferred to a specialist centre. Without the reassurance this equipment provides, some babies would have previously been moved to Southampton Hospital which can be very stressful, particularly for parents.”

A new Sunflower Trail has been created this year which is now open to the public, supporting Kingfisher children’s ward at DCH and Cherkasy Hospital in Ukraine. To book tickets visit

Meanwhile, the donation from Gemma and James Baker was a thank you for looking after Dylan who was treated at the unit and also at Southampton Neonatal Unit last year.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

James and Gemma Baker with Dylan and SCBU staff     Picture: DCH 

The family organised a casino night at Dorchester Rugby Club, raising £7,000 which is being split equally between the two hospitals. The SCBU team have put the money towards a video laryngoscope which helps with the difficult and very delicate procedure of placing a breathing tube in very young babies and with the delivery of medicines vital for lung development.

Gemma and James were generously supported by the local community and by local businesses which helped make their casino night fundraiser such a success.