A GRATEFUL family is backing a £300,000 fundraising campaign to provide a home from home for the parents of seriously ill children.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity has launched an appeal called Never Far Away which will fund accommodation close to the London hospital for parents and families of poorly children being treated there.

Nicola White, from Manningtree, stayed in parent accommodation just minutes from the hospital while her son, Hugo, was a patient.

Bab Hugo was treated for exomphalos - a serious condition where his entire liver and bowels were growing outside of his body.

He was taken immediately to Great Ormond Street Hospital when he was born and had his first surgery when he was less than 24 hours old.


Nicola said: “The family accommodation opposite the hospital was a lifeline for our family at a distressing and upsetting time.

“My room even had a phone where I could ring through directly to the neonatal intensive care unit where Hugo was being treated.

“I could be in the unit within five minutes if I needed to be.”

Nicola added: “Being close to Hugo and the hospital took away some of the stress and pressure, I just can’t imagine what it would have been like if we’d had to go home.

“As parents, we always wanted to be close to Hugo while he was in the hospital and an extended stay in a hotel wouldn’t have been feasible for us.

“I don’t know how I’ll ever thank Great Ormond Street Hospital.

“It gave us our baby and we’re so grateful.”


Hugo is now eight-years-old and is now a happy and healthy youngster.

The hospital’s charity provides both short stay accommodation for day patients and long-term housing for families of children with complex needs they need in a homely environment before taking their child home.

Judy Kuhl, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity Essex community fundraiser, appealed for the public’s support.

She said: “Keeping families together during difficult times is vital, and the accommodation funded by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity offers respite for families and time away from the hospital while remaining close enough to return to the ward at a moment’s notice.”

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is inviting people to find out more on how to get involved in the Never Far Away appeal by coming to their launch event on Tuesday 29 January in the St. Cedds room, Chapter House at Chelmsford Cathedral from 6.30-8pm.

For more information about the Never Far Away appeal and how you can support, please visit gosh.org/nfa, email NeverFarAway@gosh.org or call 020 3841 3066.