FOR Huntingdonshire s multitude of parents eagerly expecting the arrival of a new baby, most can rest assured their son or daughter will come into the world as planned. But for some families there is always an outside chance they will face the news tha

FOR Huntingdonshire's multitude of parents eagerly expecting the arrival of a new baby, most can rest assured their son or daughter will come into the world as planned.

But for some families there is always an outside chance they will face the news that every parent dreads to hear - that their baby will be born premature.

This is why we are asking you to support The Hunt Post's New Life Appeal to raise more than £70,000 on behalf of the maternity unit and the special care baby unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

We want your help to buy the special care baby unit (SCBU) brand new equipment so the nurses can care for its tiny and fragile patients, and provide better facilities for expectant parents in the maternity unit.

This money will make an enormous difference to the lives of families across Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire.

Each year about 2,500 babies are born at Hinchingbrooke's maternity unit, and about 10 per cent of these are then transferred to the special care baby unit where they receive specialist care. Some will have been born prematurely while others are ill or have suffered complications during the birth.

Between them, the two units are responsible for bringing the vast majority of the area's children into the world.

The £70,000 will be split between the two units. Maternity wants to use £35,000 to provide an en suite bedroom for expectant parents. A place both the mother and father can stay, away from the ward.

The special care baby unit wants to use the money to purchase new equipment, updating some of the machines that have been used in the unit for years. The wish list includes new incubators, breathing monitors and breathing machines - essential kit when looking after sick babies.

"Maternity and the special care baby units at Hinchingbrooke Hospital already have a great reputation with mothers from across the area, and the New Life Appeal aims to help build on that," said Andy Veale, Editor of The Hunts Post. "This campaign is about finding some extra resources for the two units and allowing them to get the extra equipment they want, provide the extra facilities they need, and turn the units into the envy of other hospitals across the region.

"Our children deserve the best start in life and the staff at Hinchingbrooke are already working to achieve this. We want your help to ensure the work can continue, but with the latest equipment available."

INFORMATION: Do you have an idea which could help raise money for the New Life Appeal or a story of your own to tell about Hinchingbrooke's maternity unit or special care baby unit. Get in contact with The Hunts Post news team by e-mailing editor@huntspost.co.uk