PPA to raise money for premature babies

GUEST SPEAKER: Lorraine Blackburn with premature-born son Owen, whose short life inspired husband Chris and herself to raise £182,000 to date in Owen’s memory for the Ickle Pickles charity. Lorraine will give a poignant talk to members of Portsmouth Property Association at their annual lunch on October 17 at the Brookfield Hotel, Emsworth, near Portsmouth.

Scores of property-related professionals are set to attend the annual autumn lunch being held by Portsmouth Property Association (PPA) next month.

The event takes place from 12.30pm on Friday, October 17, at the Brookfield Hotel, Emsworth, and includes a charity focus.

Money will be raised for Ickle Pickles, a charity which helps fund specialised equipment, such as incubators and ventilators, for premature babies in intensive care neonatal units.

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth is among the units across the country benefiting from Ickle Pickles, which was established in 2009 by Rachael Marsh and husband Andy after their son Charlie was born prematurely.

Charlie, who was delivered 12 weeks before his due date, spent three months in a neonatal unit and is today a healthy and happy little boy “who charms everyone he meets”.

A poignant talk will be given by Lorraine Blackburn, whose son Owen lost his fight for life after three months in September 2009, having been born at 26 weeks and weighing just 1Ib 10oz – equivalent to a bag of sugar.

Lorraine, from Waterlooville, will pay tribute to the doctors and nurses who cared for Owen, who was delivered by emergency caesarean.

Owen made local history when he became the first baby to arrive on the new intensive care baby unit at Queen Alexandra, an event captured by local TV and other news media.

Through Lorraine, Ickle Pickles is currently raising money for £10,000 for 10 milk warmers at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, and a £17,000 incubator at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester.

Southampton General Hospital is in the process of updating its wish list for the charity.

To date Lorraine and husband Chris have raised £182,000 to date in Owen’s memory for Ickle Pickles.

PPA chairman Danny Smith said: “Our autumn lunch is one of the highlights of the PPA calendar and it will provide a chance to raise the profile of Ickle Pickles and the sterling work the charity does in purchasing equipment for poorly premature babies, such as Charlie and Owen.”

Danny, co-founder of Southsea-based ADN Financial Solutions, is the 2014-15 PPA chairman. He succeeded Louisa Fairhall, who runs Gosport-based estate agency and lettings company Fairhalls.

PPA has more than 140 members, including estate, lettings and property management agents, commercial property agents, chartered surveyors, accountants, solicitors and bankers.

The organisation was established in 1920, when King George V reigned, Lloyd George was Prime Minister and the body of The Unknown Warrior from the First World War arrived from France for symbolic burial in Westminster Abbey.