A ST NEOTS man whose baby boy fought for his life after surgery to correct a cleft palate is hoping to raise money for families with ­children in hospital.

Ben Vogel, now 16 months old, was in intensive care connected to a ventilator for four days after surgery left him unable to breathe independently.

The youngster was born with a cleft palate and a recessed jaw, which meant he had ­difficulty breathing and could not be breast-fed.

For the first seven months he had to be fed through a tube and suffered severe weight loss, dropping 1lb 10ozs from an original weight of 9lb 13ozs.

An operation to correct his ­palate at Addenbrooke’s ­Hospital, in Cambridge, was ­successful but left his airway temporarily blocked.

Ben is now fighting fit and his father Tony, 30, is determined to give something back to the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, and the Sick Children’s Trust, by jumping 10,000ft from an ­aircraft.

Both charities supported the family throughout their ordeal. The Sick Children’s Trust ­provided a nearby room at Acorn House for Mr Vogel and wife Michelle, 30, to use.

Mr Vogel, of Wintringham Road, said: “When Ben was in intensive care, we hated walking away from him at night. ­Without the Sick Children’s Trust we would have had to drive 30 miles home.

“Addenbrooke’s is one of the main hospitals for sick ­children, so there were families who ­travelled hundreds of miles to go there.

“Please help me to raise money for these two fantastic charities, which made a very difficult year for my family much more bearable.”

Royal Mail worker Mr Vogel will be doing the ­tandem ­freefall parachute jump on June 17, and will be holding a ­Chocolate Tea Party at the Priory Centre, St Neots, on April 20 between 3pm and 5pm.

There will be a bouncy castle, children’s entertainer, a Becca Bakes cake stall, plus one from Domino’s Pizza.

Mr Vogel is also looking for raffle prizes.

INFORMATION: To sponsor Mr Vogel or to offer a raffle prize go to www.mycharitypage.com/tonyvog or call 01480 211230.