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Camberley baby flown by Children’s Air Ambulance celebrates 1st Birthday

A baby who was flown home to Camberley by the Children’s Air Ambulance, after being born eight weeks prematurely while the family were on holiday 230 miles away, celebrates his first birthday this Sunday 26 July.

Arthur Stevens is now, according to his mum Emma, “a really cheeky little boy” who is “into everything and likes banging things and making a noise”.

He will be the centre of attention on his birthday when close family members are planning to get together for a garden party.

Arthur’s unexpected arrival into the world came four days into a camping holiday in Cornwall after Emma started having contractions

She was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in  Truro by ambulance and three hours later he was born weighing 4lb 9oz at a day over 32 weeks gestation.

As with all premature babies, the first 24 hours were critical and Arthur was kept under close observation in the neonatal unit. He had a feeding tube and was on oxygen.

After two days he was breathing for himself and was taken off oxygen but he still needed the feeding tube.

“The hospital were saying he would have to stay in the neonatal unit until he was at least 35 weeks old but it was impossible for us to stay in Cornwall. It was the beginning of the school holidays and everywhere was booked up and my husband had to get back to work,” explains Emma.

Arrangements were made to get Arthur to a neonatal unit closer to home and when he was five days old he was transferred to Frimley Park Hospital – just 10 minutes away from where the family live.

The Children’s Air Ambulance took off from its Oxford base to collect the NEST Team, a specialist neonatal transport team from University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. They then flew to Truro to pick up Arthur.

It took just one hour 35 minutes to fly to Farnborough Airport where a land ambulance was waiting to take Arthur to the neonatal unit at Frimley Park.

“Knowing our baby was in safe hands and was being taken to the local hospital the quickest way possible was a great comfort. Everyone was so professional and explained exactly what was happening, they put our minds at rest. We had every faith in everyone involved in the transfer,” says Emma.

She decided not to fly with her son as her daughter Darcy (then 14 months) was too young to travel the 230 miles back home in the car with just her older brother and dad driving.

“It took six and a half hours for us to get home. Because of the Children’s Air Ambulance Arthur didn’t have to endure a long road journey. Travelling by helicopter made a huge difference for him. It’s an amazing service and we are so very lucky it was available for us,” says Emma.

When they arrived back home, the family were reunited at Frimley Park and Emma was able to go to the hospital for every feeding time and learn how to bottle feed Arthur, which can be tricky with premature babies.

When he was 22 days old Arthur was discharged and by the time he reached his expected due date – two months after his early arrival into the world – his weight had nearly doubled.

Now he is already wearing size 12-18 month clothes and is starting to pull himself up to walk holding on to furniture.

“We will always be thankful for what the Children’s Air Ambulance did for us. The transfer to get Arthur home was arranged so quickly. There was no way we could have stayed in Cornwall,” says Emma.

The Children’s Air Ambulance relies on public support to help little patients, like Arthur, be able to celebrate their birthdays. To help more babies and children, click here