A STATE-OF-THE-ART incubator will support premature babies born at Barnsley Hospital after another fundraising milestone was reached.

The Morrisons Foundation donated £25,000 to the hospital, whose quest to raise £1m to fund a new special care baby unit’s equipment – dubbed the Tiny Hearts Appeal – is approaching its target.

The intensive care incubator – which has a cooling facility to protect a baby’s brain after a traumatic birth – will support premature tots born months before their due date and increase their chance of survival.

Premature babies are often under-developed and have to be given extra help for their tiny bodies to cope with the outside world, and can spend up to 14 weeks on the unit.

Jane Mills, charity development manager at Barnsley Hospital, said: “The appeal has seen the public really jump on board to show their support, with generous donations from community fundraisers and corporate organisations.

“We have seen the appeal soar to this point, however it is vital that even though the new unit has opened, we still continue to push to our target.

“This donation is absolutely amazing and it is wonderful that Morrisons are supporting their local community in this way.

“The £25,000 will be used towards purchasing a new incubator for our neonatal unit and it will make a real difference.

“Donations from local and national businesses, such as The Morrisons Foundation, really help to raise valuable funds to support our patients.”

The Tiny Hearts Appeal, launched in September 2014, has the aim of providing an even better standard for all special care babies and the most comfortable environment for families and staff on the unit.

A new £2.8m unit, which opened in November 2018, has been built around the needs of the babies and their families but funding for more state-of-the-art equipment continues.

The unit sits on the same level as the hospital’s birthing suite, which means that babies do not have to be exposed to different environments and temperature changes or have to be taken into an elevator.

Jean Bickerton, community champion at the Morrisons store in Barnsley, presented the donation to the charity yesterday.

She added: “I’m really pleased that we were able to help such a great local cause. Knowing that our support will make a genuine difference to their activities in the community really does make us proud.

“Helping local charities is at the heart of what the foundation is all about and I’m so happy that we can provide this grant.”