A BLACK Isle father has joined forces with his employer to donate £4550 towards the creation of an all-weather outdoor play area for young patients at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
Insurance broker Gareth Vaughan and his partner Ruth Stormont, of Fortrose, have spent much time in the hospital’s Highland Children’s Unit since the birth of their second child, Carys.
Now aged 18 months, she was born 10 weeks prematurely, weighing just 2lb 4oz and with amniotic band syndrome resulting in one of her feet being amputated at birth.
She also developed holes in her heart and feeding problems requiring her to be tube fed.
Consequently, much of her young life has included periods in Raigmore as well as the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.
Mr Vaughan (35) said the outside play area at Raigmore had helped the family – including son Ben, then aged two – to be together.
“A hospital ward isn’t a place for a two-year-old and it wasn’t very practical,” he said.
“We didn’t want him bringing in bugs from outside – or having the chance of him catching anything.
“That’s why the play area is invaluable.”
But having noticed it was exposed, he got behind the Archie Foundation’s Fresh Air appeal to help develop a year-round space.
He raised £350 by holding a bake sale at Towergate Insurance in Inverness, part of the Ardonagh Group whose charitable arm, the Ardonagh Community Trust, added match funding of £200 plus a £4000 grant.
“When I heard about the Archie Foundation Fresh Air project which will help children play outside in all weather, I wanted to give something back for the help they gave us,” he said.
Christina Brockman-More, Archie foundation fundraising manager said it would go a long way in helping the appeal to reach its £100,000 target.
“This is an incredible donation to receive and we can’t thank Gareth and the Ardonagh Community Trust enough,” she said.