THE BIG INTERVIEW: Making lives better in wake of tragedy

Swindon Advertiser: SONIA Dykes had no idea that when she let her one-year-old son go with his babysitter to the park that would be the last time she would see him fully conscious. SONIA Dykes had no idea that when she let her one-year-old son go with his babysitter to the park that would be the last time she would see him fully conscious.

TREVOR Goodall, 50, is the founder of New Life, a charity which provides equipment for the baby units of local hospitals. Its most recent gift was £7,000 to the Great Western Hospital Special Care Baby Unit, to provide an adequate family area and a room where parents can talk with doctors and counsellors. Trevor, a dental technician, lives in Wokingham with partner Nicki and is a dad of two daughters, Hannah and Isabel.

IN June of 1995 premature twin brothers called Samuel and Joshua died within days of each other at the old Princess Margaret Hospital.

Their legacy is countless other babies saved and countless parents brought comfort in their hours of greatest need.

“The worst moment was leaving the hospital,” said their father, Trevor Goodall.

Remembering takes no effort because just about every detail is still with him.

“Picking up your bags, all your belongings, and leaving the hospital empty-handed. You see other parents leaving with their babies, with balloons flying, nurses saying goodbye, putting them in the car seat for the first time.

“It was a long journey home.”

Trevor is originally from Kintbury, near Hungerford, and is the youngest of three siblings. His father, Graham, worked as a builder and later in a telephone exchange. He had MS and died when Trevor was 15. Trevor’s mother, Gillian, lives in Burbage. He split with his wife, Tanya, a decade ago.

Trevor left St Bartholomew’s Grammar School in Newbury at 16 to begin a four-year apprenticeship as a dental technician. He has worked in the profession ever since, spending the past dozen years with Marlborough Dental Laboratory. The job involves making and repairing dentures and dental appliances.

“You’re helping people. It’s nice to have a patient come in with a tooth missing or a bad smile and you can help to right that. They go away and they can smile again.”

In 1995 Trevor was an expectant dad in his early 30s. Joshua and Samuel were born on June 19. Each weighed a little over a pound.

“They weren’t due until September or October and here we were in June and they were being born.

“They were very small. You’re waiting for a baby and in your eyes they’re three months away.

“You’re still working. You haven’t built the bedroom yet – the nursery. When my wife at the time, Tanya, went into labour it was a bit of a shock.

“We were rushed to Swindon in the middle of the night and they tried to slow the birth. The drugs didn’t work and she gave birth on the Sunday. That was Father’s Day.”

The hospital was to be their home for the rest of their sons’ short lives.

“At the time we never did think they were in trouble. All of these pieces of equipment with lights and beeps – we thought they’d be fixed.”

It wasn’t to be. The couple were told that if the boys survived for three days – until the Wednesday evening – things would be better. They went to bed after visiting their sons on the Wednesday night, but were awoken at 5am with the news that Samuel had taken a turn for the worse.

They reached him in time to hold him as he died. On Saturday morning there was another summons, and Joshua died shortly afterwards.

“To lose one is hard enough, but to lose another three days later – I have always said that’s unfair.”

The couple had invited friends to come and see their sons. “Although they were not here long they did meet lots and lots of people.”

Many friends and loved ones donated money to the couple. This was the seed of the New Life charity.

“People gave us £800. We thought it would be nice to make it £1,000 to give to the hospital. I phoned the hospital and they said there was a piece of machinery that cost £1,300.”

Trevor organised a golf tournament among friends and acquaintances to raise the extra money – and ended up with £7,500.

The tournament became an annual event at which the best prize goes to whoever comes 19th. The reason? The boys were born on June 19, 13-year-old daughter Isabel’s birthday is July 19 and 17-year-old Hannah’s is August 19.

The tournament is just one of countless New Life fundraising events staged by Trevor or his supporters, ranging from the Three Peaks Challenge – scaling the tallest peaks of England, Scotland and Wales in 24 hours – to a cycle ride from London to Paris.

New Life helps not only the Great Western Hospital but also hospitals in Reading and Basingstoke. Over the years it has provided incubators, oxygen systems, resuscitators and countless other items.

The charity spends every penny it raises on these purchases.

“I never class it as hard work,”said Trevor. “When you see what you’ve bought and how happy the doctors and nurses are with what you’ve done, it’s a nice ending to it all.

“Rather than just sending your money off and not knowing what it’s going to be used for, it’s nice to see what it’s doing.

“I always dread the day that a hospital will phone and say they need a piece of equipment and it’s £7,000 or whatever, and we don’t have the money in the bank to buy it.

“Touch wood, we have always had it. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep that up so we never have to say ‘no’.”

For more details, see newlifespecialcarebabies.org, call 07917 833173 or email trevnewlife@hotmail.com

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