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Wedding belles help raise funds for RD&E’s Neonatal Unit

Ruth Fishleigh and her family have raised nearly £4,000 for the Neonatal Unit (NNU) at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital by holding a ‘Wedding Dress Ball’.

The sell-out event, which saw 130 guests attend dressed in their finest wedding attire, took place at the Exeter Golf and Country Club on 20th May.  The charity dinner dance and auction provided an opportunity for women to give their wedding dresses another wearing and help raise some money for a cause close to Ruth’s heart.

Ruth’s son Arlo spent six days on the Neonatal Unit at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital after he was born in September 2013.  Now Arlo is two and half, Ruth decided she wanted to start fundraising to help support the work of the unit.

 “I was so overwhelmed and amazed by the care the neonatal team gave not just to Arlo but to me and my husband Chris as well. The staff were always there to give me a hug whenever I needed it.”  said Ruth. “I ran the Rock Solid Race for the NNU last year but I wanted to do something on a bigger scale. I’ve also always wanted the chance to be able to wear my wedding dress and feel like a princess again so created an event that would enable me to do both.”

 The ball was a roaring success with the fundraising total reaching £3876 by the end of the night.   

Ruth added: “It was a fantastic evening and we all had a great time. I’d like to thank everyone who bought tickets for the Ball, and also Glitz Photo Booth, Your Big Event Disco, Friday Cake, Acanthus Press and the Clarins Counter from Debenhams for their support.”

Ruth recently visited the Neonatal Unit with her husband Chris and son Arlo to hear how the money she raised will benefit the unit and its patients. The visit also gave the couple the opportunity to meet some of the staff who helped care for Arlo during his stay on NNU, including Healthcare Assistant Fi Buckfield who supported Ruth through the difficult time.


Sue Prosser, Senior Nurse for Neonatal at the RD&E said: “We are absolutely delighted that Ruth has chosen to support us. The ball sounds like a really unique event and we are so pleased it was such as success. We plan to use the donation on projects to help improve the experience for families and poorly babies who spend time with us on the unit.”

Ruth, who is expecting her second child later in the year, plans to take a break from fundraising but hopes to organise another Wedding Dress Ball in 2017. 


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