A creative mum has put her skills to the test after hosting her 10th annual craft fair which raised over £1,800 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where her daughter was cared for, for over 17 years.

Mandy Edwards is a keen crafter and she’s been using her talents to raise funds for the hospital ever since doctors gave her daughter, Beth, not only a second but third chance at life when she was a baby.

Mandy was just 20-weeks-pregnant when she and her husband, Bryan, found out that baby Beth would be born with a congenital heart defect. The scan showed that Beth had hypoplastic left heart syndrome which meant the left side of her heart hadn’t developed the way that it should and she would need an operation as soon as she was born.

When that time came, Mandy and Bryan asked for Beth to be Christened in the Chapel at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, where she was born, and less than five hours later Beth was  transferred across the city to the Children’s Hospital, where at three-days-old she underwent her first operation.

Thankfully, the operation to reconstruct Beth’s tiny heart was a success, but it was the first of many hurdles for Beth, who underwent another three surgeries before her fifth birthday, battling bouts of sepsis and spending a critical four months on the hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Beth fought hard, recovering well from each set back and as Mandy witnessed the incredible care and compassion of the hospital staff, and the technology used to save her daughter’s life, she began to make her fundraising plans.

To begin with, Mandy hosted a small craft fair, selling her own creations in her own home at Christmastime, but every year interest grew, until eventually Mandy’s event needed to move to a local community hall to accommodate all the visitors. Family, neighbours, friends and friends of friends now come together each year to sell their handmade wares with profits coming back to support the hospital so close to Mandy’s heart.  Seventeen years on, Mandy has even begun diversifying by selling her items online in aid of the charity.

Mandy said: “We feel incredibly lucky to have Beth with us here today after what was such a scary start to her life. Although she often uses a wheelchair and her energy sometimes wanes, at nearly 18-years-old, she lives an incredibly full life. She’s just started college and loves horse-riding once a week, and it’s all down to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“Crafting and holding sales in aid of the charity is our way of giving back for the years of care Beth has received, and it’s wonderful to think that we could be helping to make a difference to another family’s experience.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “It’s heart-warming to hear stories of our long-term patients growing up and living their best lives thanks to the care of our wonderful colleagues. It’s often a key motivator in patient families fundraising for us.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Mandy for her dedication to fundraise over so many years. Her fundraising total grows year on year, helping us do more for countless sick kids and their families.”