THIS time last year, baby Bradley Spanton had just been on the front page of The Hunts Post with his parents appealing for help. Mum and dad, Stephanie and Charlie had been advised that they would need £7,000 to buy monitoring equipment for baby Bradley,

THIS time last year, baby Bradley Spanton had just been on the front page of The Hunts Post with his parents appealing for help.

Mum and dad, Stephanie and Charlie had been advised that they would need £7,000 to buy monitoring equipment for baby Bradley, then aged eight months, after he had undergone a series of heart operations at just a few weeks old.

However, after a Hunts Post campaign, insurance group Sureterm Direct, with offices in Godmanchester stepped forward with the whole sum.

All 60 staff at Sureterm Direct agreed to give up their Christmas bonuses and the company also donated money to raise the £7,000. Readers also sent in cheques.

However, it turned out that Bradley' equipment would cost only £1,000 for a domestic machine - but Sureterm kept to its word, stuck to its initial pledge and gave the rest of the money, £6,000 to The Hunts Post New Life Appeal for maternity services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Now, a year on, Bradley has been able to enjoy his first holiday to Great Yarmouth and he is walking and talking.

Bradley has a heart condition called thrombophilia that means if his blood clots it could prove fatal, and he needs a heart valve and a pacemaker.

His mother Stephanie, 21, used to have to take him to Hinchingbrooke hospital most days for checks, which was particularly difficult because she does not drive.

Bradley had his first operation when he was less than two months old, and has been treated at Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London.

The Hunts Post campaign raised the money to buy the Spantons an International Normalised Radio (INR) home blood testing machine which allows Mrs Spanton to test him at home and not have to take Bradley to the hospital.

She said: "It has made life easier as I don't have to go to the hospital with him every day anymore. I can test him at home rather than getting someone to take time off work to take us to the hospital," said Mrs Spanton, from Alconbury.

"He has had his first holiday to Great Yarmouth in March. He became ill and he needed the equipment. We all had a great time and enjoyed getting away, but we couldn't have gone without the equipment."

Bradley's condition will be with him for life, and he will always need a pacemaker and heart valve.

Mrs Spanton said: "Bradley is a lot more capable now but he will have to have replacements and more operations in the future when he grows older as the parts he has now will get too small for him. His pacemaker will have to be replaced within the next couple of years and the valve in the next seven years as long as nothing goes wrong.

"The equipment has made everything better. We are all a lot happier and life is a lot less stressful. He is walking now and can say a few simple words like 'mum', 'dad', 'food' and his favourite television programmes 'Thomas' [the tank engine] and 'Bob' [the builder].