A grateful nan from Lichfield has been named as this week’s Charity Champion after holding a family fun day that raised over £3,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

With help from her friends and family, Paula Reynolds, 50, organised the event at Lichfield Social Club for her local community, and raised the money through cake sales, tombolas, raffles and an auction which saw a signed Barcelona football shirt sell for £450 alone.

The hospital will always have a special place in Paula’s heart after her grandchildren, Reggie (two) and Gracie (seven-months-old), both received life-saving treatment.  

Reggie was born in 2017 with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, which meant he had a hole in the muscle between his abdomen and his chest that allowed his bowel and other organs to move up and push his heart to the side. At just four-days-old, Reggie was transferred to the children’s hospital for the emergency operation to repair the muscle. He then spent seven weeks on the hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit until he was well enough to go home for the first time.

Less than two years later, Reggie’s little sister Gracie was born with congenital heart conditions called Double Outlet Right Ventricle, Pulmonary Stenosis and Patent Arterial Duct, meaning that a tube between her heart and lungs had not formed properly.  She was admitted to the hospital straight away and had a life-saving operation to fit a stent to open the tube up. The operation was successful but as Gracie grows, she’ll need to have further open-heart surgery.

Thankfully, Reggie and Gracie are now both doing well and after seeing first-hand the amazing treatment and care they received, Paula knew she wanted to organise a fundraiser to give back and say thank you to the hospital and to Ronald McDonald House, where the family often stayed during visits.

Paula said: “As a family, we’re so grateful for the incredible care both Reggie and Gracie have had at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and knowing that Gracie will need more treatment in the future, fundraising was just something me, my son Adam and daughter-in-law Chelseigh felt we needed to do.

“The fun day was hard work to organise, but with so much help from my family and very good friend
Elaine Hutchings, it turned out to be a fantastic day and we managed to raise more than double our fundraising target for both charities which made it even better.”

Miranda Williams, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “It’s so humbling to hear how the community got behind Paula for a charity that is so close to her heart.

“The amazing amount Paula and her network of supportive friends, family and neighbours have raised will make a real difference and help us do more for sick kids just like Reggie and Gracie.”