GENEROUS Adver readers have helped special care baby unit fundraisers hit a £15,000 appeal milestone a day early.

Great Western Hospital charity Brighter Futures needed to raise £1,000 a day to win match-funding from two charitable trusts.

Last night, hospital fundraising chief Catherine Newman thanked our readers for helping them reach the target with time to spare.

It takes GWH one step closer to reaching the £175,000 appeal target by Christmas. The hospital needs the cash to buy five state-of-the-art incubators. Unlike the SCBU’s current equipment, the new incubators allow mums to cradle their baby as it lies on the kit’s heated cushion.

“We’re chuffed to bits,” said Catherine. “We never imagined we’d hit the target so early. Everyone in the team was messaging each other over the weekend, saying we’d need to push the appeal even further over the next few days.

“To check our emails on Monday morning and find we’d reached our target was amazing.”

The fundraising boss praised readers’ generosity. Last Tuesday, the Adver front page was given over to the appeal, calling on people to help the hospital in its bid to raise £7,500 in seven days so the sum could be matched by the Dr Thomas Cranston Wilson Charitable Trust and the Reed Foundation.

Catherine said: “We had a lady call us on Tuesday. She said she couldn’t afford to give £1,000, but she’d give us half - £500. That first day the phone was ringing off the hook and we saw loads of donations going online.”

When gift aid and the matched funds were factored in, Brighter Futures had raised £17,834 since Tuesday. It means the hospital is just £10,178 short of its incubator appeal target.

Calling on Swindonians to help get the appeal over the line, Catherine said: “We want to give the best Christmas gift to our littlest patients.”

Mum-of-three Sophie Cook, 28, whose daughters Lydia and Edith were cared for by SCBU nurses, said: “I was over the moon when I saw they’d hit the £17k. I can’t believe how quickly they’ve come to their target since the appeal originally launched in March.

“I think it says a lot that people have put their money towards it.”

To donate to the incubator appeal, call Brighter Futures on 01793 605631 or visit:

Are you fundraising for the appeal or have you been supported by the midwives at SCBU? Get in touch. Call the newsdesk on 01793 501806 or email