YOUNGSTERS said they felt proud to support a hospital campaign to buy state-of-the-art incubators for Swindon’s sickest babies.

Around 200 pupils at St Michael’s School, Aldbourne, walked to the top of a nearby hill and left stones painted with uplifting messages as part of their bid to raise cash for Great Western Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit incubator appeal.

The generous pupils raised £418.53 for the Brighter Futures fundraising bid.

House captain Alex Doods, 11, said: “It was hot and kind of tiring at the end of the walk, but we all thought it was kind doing something for a good cause. We did it to save other children.”

Asked how it felt to raise hundreds of pounds for the incubator appeal, Alex said: “It’s very good, it’s a good feeling.”

Four children from the Wiltshire school visited the SCBU at Great Western Hospital to present a cheque to doctors and fundraising managers.

Teacher Ben Jarvis said: “Coming here and being able to see where the money goes is great."

“When we did the walk, each child in the school wrote on a pebble about one of the school values – generosity, why it’s good to give to others. There are 190 stones built into that cairn. They’ll be there after we’ve gone.”

Dr Sarah Bates, neonatal consultant at GWH, visited St Michael’s to speak about the SCBU and how the modern new incubators will help the sickest babies born at the hospital.

“One of the biggest differences the new incubators will make is that babies will be able to be held by their parents.

“We try and get babies out of cuddles anyway, but at the moment the parent could only put their hand into the incubator. With the new incubators, the whole lid lifts off.”

GWH wants to raise £175,000 for five of the new Dräger Babyleo neonatal incubators. Dr Bates says it could help babies bond with their mother better: “Early parent contact helps the baby’s development and for mums it’s important to be able to hold their baby early on.”