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Published 5th Apr 2017

Riverside Stadium

 The incredible efforts of a Teesside family to keep alive the memory of their daughter Maisie have resulted in a £5,000 boost to James Cook University Hospital’s neonatal unit.

 Maisie lived for just four days after being born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck – but parents Leanne and Graham Nellis were determined to do good in her memory. 

Since launching charity Maisie’s Hope in 2011, the Acklam couple had already raised more than £50,000. 

The latest boost came after “amazing public support” saw Maisie’s Hope top a poll ahead of 14 other local charities, schools and community groups. 

The poll success saw the charity scoop the biggest share of the £20,000 Golden Giveaway, run by charitable movement Teesside Philanthropic Foundation. 

Having already helped the hospital purchase several expensive pieces of medical equipment, their latest project is to fund the decoration and interior for the parent flats within the grounds of James Cook Hospital. 

Beds, sofas, wardrobes, duvets and curtains are all on the list to provide a home away from home for the families whose babies are being treated on the neonatal unit. 

Speaking after the Golden Giveaway event at Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium, an emotional Leanne said: “We went along expecting a cheque for £500 so it really hit home just how much support we have when we realised we’d topped the poll to win £5,000.” 

Leanne, who attended the event with Graham and their children Mollie, three, and Matilda, ten months, added: “For us, it’s about keeping Maisie’s memory alive. She was only here for four days but all of this is in her name. We went through an awful time but this is something really positive that’s coming from it.” 

Many of the Tees region’s leading businesses and wealthy individuals banded together as patrons of the Foundation to provide the £20,000 cash jackpot. 

Shaun Hughes, a director of Foundation patrons Erimus Insurance Brokers, said: “The Philanthropic Foundation is made up of local people and businesses who want to share their success with those who most need our help here on Teesside. 

“It was fantastic to see the £20,000 Golden Giveaway being shared between so many incredible local community groups and charities. Teesside can be rightly proud of the brilliant work done by the many volunteers who run these amazing charities.” 

Those also receiving a share of the £20,000 Golden Giveaway were: 

  • Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) – Shaun Hughes of Erimus Insurance Brokers presented £2,500 towards screening sessions for hundreds of young Teesside people to check for undetected heart conditions.
  • KTS Academy – Glyn Pemberton of Active Chartered Financial Planners presented £1,000 to help create a sensory garden for the Brotton-based special school.
  • Bloodrun EVS – Bill Scott handed over a cheque for £2,000 towards renewing their fleet of bikes that volunteers use to transfer blood and other urgent deliveries between local hospitals at evenings and weekends.
  • Middlesbrough Powerchair Football Club – Jamie Brown of Endeavour Partnership - £1,500 to purchase a new portable hoist to transfer players from their day chairs into one of the club’s specialist footballing chairs.
  • Reagan Jack Rainbows – Glyn Pemberton presented £750 towards cooling systems known as “cuddle cots” and ”sleep tight” systems to help parents spend last precious moments with deceased children in their own home.
  • West View Advice – Trudi Chapman of Cool Blue Brand Communications presented £750 to subsidise the cost of complimentary cancer therapy treatments for people in Hartlepool
  • John Clayton Fundraiser – Kevin Hazeldine of InBond handed over £1,000 towards potentially life-saving defibrillators for sports and community facilities across Teesside
  • South Cleveland Heart Fund – Foundation supporter Cllr Ron Arundale presented £750 to continue supporting the world class cardiothoracic centre at James Cook University Hospital.
  • Lakes United FC – Jayne Stephenson presented £750 to secure the Redcar football club’s existence for at least another year.
  • SNAPS Tees Valley – Trudi Chapman presented £1,000 to provide support to families with children and young people with a disability, special, additional or complex needs.
  • Middlesbrough Youth Theatre – Ken Devereux of Devereux Transport presented £1,500 to ensure MYT remains accessible to all, no matter what their social or financial background.
  • Hugs for the Homeless – Paul Good handed over £500 towards new premises for a Middlesbrough charity that hands out food and supplies to local homeless.
  • Caldicotes Primary School, Thorntree – Shaun Hughes presented £500 towards providing healthy lunches for disadvantaged families throughout the Summer holidays.
  • Swerve Table Tennis Centre, Middlesbrough – Bill Scott presented £500 to help disadvantaged members with travel expenses and accommodation at tournaments.


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