A COUPLE whose baby was born two months premature has joined News Shopper in raising cash for a vital baby care unit.

Michael Avery, aged 25, and 23-year-old Leigh Flynn, of Walden Close, Belvedere, welcomed their son Harris at 32 weeks on August 4 last year.

He spent 19 days in Darent Valley Hospital's special baby care unit after suffering from jaundice, low blood sugar levels and had to be fed through a tube as he could not suck.

News Shopper has been helping staff raise cash towards a £400,000 wish list of equipment they need to enhance services.

So far the Little Buds Fund has raised around £136,800.

Miss Flynn said: "Each time I look at photos of him when he was so small it makes me cry remembering how traumatic it was when he was first born.

"The staff were so kind and supportive but it didn’t take away the emotional roller coaster we found ourselves on when he first made an appearance into the world and needed so much care.

"He looks so well and growing fast and we now feel passionate about giving something back."

The couple calculated the care for Harris at the hospital cost around £17,000, which they have set as their fundraising target.

They are both taking part in the British 10K London run on July 8 and the London to Brighton bike ride on September 16.

Around 15 to 20 per cent of babies born at the hospital require treatment in the unit.

To join the fundraising events, visit dvh.nhs.uk or call fundraising manager Tracey Cummins on 01322 428256 or email fundraising.dvh.nhs.uk To make a donation, visit justgiving.com/Leigh-Flynn-Little-buds