Loveable penguins Monty and Mabel from John Lewis Christmas advert come to Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon to meet their new friend

Monty with Monty, Mabel, mum Katie and grandma Colette Keenan. Picture: Alice Russell.

Monty with Monty, Mabel, mum Katie and grandma Colette Keenan. Picture: Alice Russell. - Credit: Archant

Stephen and Katie Watson had given up all hope of finding a Monty penguin for their new-born baby, who fought his way into the world against all odds.

They had been trying for a baby for more than two years. When she fell pregnant, Katie, of Hail Weston, was told at 18 weeks that the baby had suffered premature rupture of the membrane and was advised to terminate the pregnancy as she was likely to miscarry.

A determined Katie decided she would do everything possible to save her baby including full bed rest and two weeks’ stay in Addenbrooke’s when the baby was 25 weeks.

“It was a very distressing time because every day I was told I could lose the baby,” said Katie.

“There were many, many scares and it was very uncomfortable but I was determined I was going to have my baby.”

On October 1, at 31 weeks and six days, Monty was delivered by Caesarean section at Rosie Maternity.

Katie said: “He was put on a ventilator to help his lungs develop. He came off it quickly and went on to a machine to aid his breathing.”

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Six weeks later baby Monty was transferred to Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust-run Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, where he remains.

Two weeks ago Katie stumbled across the John Lewis Christmas ad featuring the penguins and knew immediately that she had to get one for her baby.

Katie said: “I immediately went online but it was sold out. We tried the shops but just could not get one.”

Last week, thanks to Kate Rivett, the SCBU neonatal manager, and John Lewis, baby Monty became the proud owner of not one penguin but two – Monty and Mabel, the main characters in the store’s ad.

Katie said: “When Kate told me that one was on its way, I just burst into tears. We could not contain our joy when they arrived.”

SCBU nurse Kate said she heard the family were desperately trying to find a Monty penguin so contacted a friend who works for John Lewis who put her in touch with a colleague at group HQ.

“I explained the predicament,” Kate said. “Within half an hour she rang back to say a Monty and a Mabel were on their way. They arrived the following day to everyone’s delight.”

Stephen, 31, and Katie, 34, who named Monty after Mont Blanc, said they were very grateful to Kate and John Lewis.

“We wanted the penguin as a present for our son so when he is older we could tell him the story of how he came to be named Monty and how in the year he was born an ad had featured a penguin called Monty,” Katie added.

Monty, the baby, is doing well. And he was well enough by the weekend to give the couple the best present ever – to take him home for Christmas.