Show your support at baby Olly fundraiser

THE full list of top quality items up for auction this weekend at the baby Olly fundraiser has been revealed.

Bidders will be encouraged to dig deep for a whole host of top-of-the-range items at Banbridge Parish Centre this Saturday March 5.

Little Olly Dobson was just a week old when he died last year and his devastated parents Lorna and Rob told the Leader of their heartbreak last month.

Since then, the couple have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people keen to help out for the fundraiser in their son’s memory. Many items, including a five-star stay at the luxury Lough Erne Golf Resort and £250 worth of Asda shopping vouchers, have been donated by generous businesses.

“The support from local businesses has been so amazing and we have now amassed over £3,500 worth of products and vouchers which will be auctioned off and raffled during the fund-raising evening,” said Lorna. “We were already astounded that so many people gave monetary donations in lieu of flowers at Olly’s funeral and more than £1,000 has already been handed over to the neo-natal unit at Craigavon Area Hospital.

“We don’t have a figure in mind for the fund-raising evening, but we are hoping the event on Saturday, March 5, will raise as much money as possible for the three hospitals where Olly was treated and that everyone will have a great evening at the same time.”

Money raised on the night will be split between the neonatal unit at Craigavon Area Hospital and the paediatric intenstive care units at both Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

The event kicks off at 8pm and will feature traditional music and Irish dancing by Glenn Comhaltas. There will also be an auction, a raffle and a tombola plus an evening buffet and refreshments, followed by music from local bands, The Nooks and The Travelling Wannabes. Bar facilities are available from 8pm to midnight and the bands will play until 1am.

Lorna and Rob decided to organise the special evening in memory of their son “to give something back” and do something practical to thank the hospitals involved in their son’s care.

“We are eternally grateful to all the medical staff who cared for Olly during his short life and who fought so hard to try and save him and for the support they have given us,” Lorna told the Leader. “Being in the paediatric intensive care units, in particular, really opened our eyes to the horrific ordeals so many parents have to go through and we want to do something for them in Olly’s memory so that he’s never forgotten.”

Olly was born a healthy baby, weighing 6lbs 13oz, and apart from a slight infection around his umbilical cord, there was nothing to indicate he would soon fall dangerously ill.

He was tested for the rare gestational condition, Neonatal Haemochromatosis, but tests came back negative last month and his parents now await results from further tests to determine the cause of their baby son’s death. Lorna and Robert also plan to make a small donation to the Neonatal Haemochromatosis Organisation to thank them for their great support in the weeks and months following Olly’s death.

Tickets for the fundraising evening cost £10 and are available at Walsh’s Newsagents at Scarva Street Banbridge, or can be purchased at the door on the night.