A WESTBURY couple who thought they would never have children after they lost their baby daughter when she was born prematurely, have had the Christmas gift they never dreamed of, with the birth of their son.

Tania and Andy Covington-Cross were stricken with grief when their baby daughter Mabel was born just 22 weeks into pregnancy last December, and only survived for 25 minutes.

At first they gave up hope of having a baby, and threw themselves into fundraising for the Bath RUH neonatal ward, collecting an impressive £10,000.

But after undergoing IVF treatment, the couple were delighted to discover they were expecting, with their little bundle of joy due to arrive on Christmas Day.

Baby Ernie was actually delivered by caesarean on December 22 and has helped to heal the hearts of his family after their sad loss last year.

Mrs Covington-Cross said: "A year ago we were grief stricken at the loss of our dear daughter Mabel, we never thought we would get to have another baby.

"So after another difficult round of IVF and an emotionally challenging pregnancy with a few scary moments, we are delighted to have our beautiful son Ernie.

"We are more in love with him than words can say and while we will never stop loving Mabel, the arrival of Ernie has given us some healing and a happiness that we never thought we'd have."

The £10,000 that Mr and Mrs Covington-Cross raised for the RUH neonatal ward made a real difference, and the unit were able to purchase a video laryngoscope, an piece of technology which allows doctors to examine babies throats through a video projected onto a screen.

Dr Steve Jones, consultant neonatologist, at the RUH said: “The video laryngoscope gives us better view via a projected image on a screen so that we can see a baby’s airway clearly when we need to put a breathing tube into their throat to help with their breathing.

“Having this equipment is a game changer for us and it has already been demonstrated to our neonatal colleagues in Trusts across the South West.”

Mr and Mrs Covington-Cross have now set up a Forever fund through The Forever Friends Appeal in memory of Mabel, to pay tribute and continue raising funds for the RUH.

To donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tania-covington-cross2