A local sportsman has now raised well over £5,000 for the special care baby unit at Noble’s Hospital after it was instrumental in saving the life of his three year old daughter Grayse*. She was born prematurely, weighing only 1 lb 10 ozs, but pulled through thanks to the combined efforts of the Neonatal Unit at Noble’s and Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.
His latest fund-raising effort saw Neil Ronan, official tennis coach at the Castletown Club, taking part in the 2012 Parish Walk and completing a distance of around 35 miles before calling it a day with shin splints on the journey from Peel to Kirk Michael.
Neil (35) raised a total of £1,500 via sponsorship from work colleagues at Hyder Consulting, together with friends and relatives, but this time there was an added twist to the story. Neil had obtained a special sponsorship from T.H. Colebourns of Douglas who provided a 40” Sony HD Smart TV through their Home Entertainments Centre. Neil’s walk sponsors were entered into a draw for the television, receiving one free entry for each £3 of sponsorship.
Although 500 entries went into the draw the winner, by a bizarre coincidence, turned out to be one of the nurses at the Hospital’s Neonatal Unit – Christine Allen from Regaby. Consequently, there was a double presentation at Colebourn’s Victoria Street showroom when, firstly, Phil Colebourn handed over the television – retail value £699 – to Mrs Allen while Neil presented a cheque for £1,500 to Paul McCann, lead nurse at the Neonatal Unit.
Phil Colebourn’s involvement in the presentation was appropriate as he has completed the full 85-mile Parish Walk distance on two occasions. He said they had decided on the sponsorship as Neil’s efforts were on behalf of such a worthwhile cause and because of his own connection with the Parish Walk. Meanwhile, Mrs Allen said she and husband John would site the new TV in the lounge, relegating the existing one to another room in the house.
Neil’s other efforts for the baby unit have included raising £2,000 via an auction of items donated for the cause, while a further £1,200 came from the 2010 Parish Walk when sister Kirree was also roped in to join her brother. The overall figure was boosted to £5,300 when Neil took part in the 2009 Isle of Man Bank Santa Dash, obtaining £500 by personal sponsorship and then winning one of the Bank’s £100 spot prizes for secret finishing positions.
* - Grayse Ronan is the daughter of Neil and partner Emma Dallison. When Grayse’s premature birth was imminent she was flown away to Arrowe Park as it coincided with an exceptionally busy period at Noble’s. After four weeks at Arrowe Park she came back to the Island, still in an incubator, for a further six weeks stay at Noble’s Neonatal Unit.