How to get the best out of this blog...

All blogs post are more recent first, if you want to read about Ellie's Journey I'd suggest starting from the first post back in September 2011 (October Posts) and read on Chronologically from there. It will make more sense and you'll get to meet the little girl who gave my life purpose.
Thank You for reading - every new reader shows that she has met another person and in her short life made such an impact. x

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Calling Keen Knitters.....


Pass this pattern on to Grannies and Aunts and get them knitting any colour goes but Purple Bears would be great!! 
Ellie’s Teddy Bear Pattern
Measurements: Teddy is 10cm [4in] high.Materials: Oddments of 8 ply / double knitting yarn  a pair of 3mm [No 11, USA 2] knitting needles / stuffing.Notes: The teddies have movable jointed heads, legs and arms, so all the pieces must be closely knitted and firmly stuffed for the joints to  work properly. If you tend to knit loosely, use one size smaller knitting needles.Note that P side of st-st is right side when making up. When stuffing the pieces, use points of scissors or tweezers to push in the stuffing.
BodyBegin at neck edge and cast on 10 sts.  P 1 row.  Next row: Inc K wise into every st —20 sts.  Beginning with a P row, st-st 5 rows.
Next row: K5, inc in next st, K8, inc in next st, K5 —22 sts.Continue in st-st and work 9 rows.Next row: (K2tog) to end - 11 sts. Cast off P wise.Fold body, bringing row ends together, with P side of st-st inside. Oversew across the cast off sts. Turn right side out and oversew row ends together, forming centre back body seam. Stuff body very firmly. Gather round cast on edge, pull up gathers tightly and fasten off.
Legs [make two alike]Begin at sole and cast on 8 sts.P 1 row.Next row: Inc K wise into every st - 16 sts.Beginning with a P row, st-st 3 rows.Shape footNext row: K3, K2tog, (K3tog) twice, K2tog, K3  - lOsts.P 1 row.Shape legContinue in st-st and inc 1 st at each end of next row— 12 sts.St-st 7 rows.Next row: (K2tog) to end —6 sts.Cast off P wise.Oversew row ends of each leg together, with P side of st-st outside, leaving a gap in seam for stuffing. Oversew across cast on sts and also across cast off sts. Stuff, then oversew gap. Pin legs to sides of body. Use a strand of matching yarn to sew legs to body as shown in diagram 1.Pass needle back through body again at same position as before. Pull up yarn very tightly, to depress the legs into body and form firm joints.Fasten off. Pass yarn through body again and fasten off at other leg. The legs should now hold their position when moved.

HeadBegin at centre back of head and cast on 12 sts.P 1 row.Next row: Inc K wise into every st —24 sts.Beginning with a P row, st-st 11 rows.Shape noseNext row: (K2tog) to end - 12 sts.P 1 row.Next row: K2tog, K2, (K2tog) twice, K2, K2tog -- 8 sts.P 1 row.

Next row: (K2tog) to end —4 sts.B & T tightly, for end of nose. (break off yarn thread through stitches on needle pull tight then fasten off.)
Oversew row ends together with P side of st-st outside. This seam runs from the nose, underneath the head. Stuff head, then leave cast on edge open, so that nose and eyes can be added.Use a strand of black yarn and work three short straight horizontal stitches at end of nose, taking needle through from open back of head. Fasten off at back of head also.Mark positions of eyes with pins, about 1cm [3/8in] above nose and 1cm [3/8in] apart. For each eye, cut a 20cm [8in] length of black yarn. Make a knot at centre of each length, winding yarn round three times before pulling knot tight. Use a darning needle to pass one yarn end through head at position of one pin, bringing needle out at open back of head. Pass the other end of yarn through head in same way taking it through face just above the first position. Pull yarn ends through until knot is slightly depressed into face. Knot ends of yarn tightly against stuffing. Trim off yarn ends. Repeat this for the other eye.Now stuff back of head to cover knotted ends of black yarn. Gather round cast on edge, pull up tightly and fasten off.To attach head to body, use a strand of matching yarn in a darning needle and knot end. Pass needle through body at position of one leg joint and bring needle out at centre top of body. Pass needle through head at head seam, then back through body to come out at other leg joint [see diagram 2]. Pull yarn very tightly and fasten off.
Ears [make two alike]Begin at lower edge and cast on 6 sts.P 1 row. Beginning with a K row, continue in st-st and dec 1 st at each end of next 2 rows -2 sts.Now inc 1 st each end of next 2 rows —6 sts.K 1 row, then cast off P wise.With P side of st-st outside, oversew cast on and cast off edges of each ear together, then oversew row ends together. Sew ears to head as illustrated.
Arms [make two alike]Begin at top edge and cast on 5 sts.1st row: Inc K wise into every st - 10 sts.Beginning with a P row, st-st 9 rows.
Shape armNext row: K3, (K2tog) twice, K3 —8 sts.Continue in st-st and work 4 rows.
Next row: (P2tog) to end —4 sts.B & T tightly. Make up arms and attach to sides of body in same way as for legs.
Nanny Margeret knits and has passed on this pattern from Australia to encourage anyone interested in knitting to have a go....we would like to start collecting bears for giving out to sick babies at Leighton Hospital (SCBU & Ward 17) to keep them company in their cots and then take home.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Some Fundraising News

British Gas Charity Football Match
Thanks to: Matt Booth and colleauges at British Gas were had their annual football match raising a fantastic £505.
101 people from the West Midlands area turned up to play or be referee and after the games were finished British Gas put a buffet on where Matt was able to talk to everyone about the charity and raise awareness.

Sponsored Slimmers
Thank you Aunty Sally for slimming your way to £205 of sponsorship and Zoe Buckley another £200 plus!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Purple Pride!

The Cheshire This weeks Crewe Chronicle... and Nantwich News

Before the wind
Wow what a tough day, for both of us.
I know, I didn’t swim, didn’t cycle, didn’t run.  Fortunately that was Dan’s pain, although he wouldn’t agree that it was anywhere near fortunate. But the emotional crescendo of this triathlon was reverberating from the moment I got up.
I’m not sure which of the early disasters set me off running into the boot of the car to hide and threaten to go home like a child who couldn’t have an ice-cream. I was officially on the brink…the organising; the hope for my every hope for utter perfection, as always was looking like failure.

After the wind!

We were late to set up, missing the canopy, getting the canopy and ripping the canopy, trying to hold down the canopy to stop it taking off, the poles bending the prizes flying….the wind was racing faster than any of the competitors and with the elusive sun only making a few appearances all seemed utterly disastrous. I was a mess, the display was a mess.
Then Penny came, we had four people and what a difference it makes, holding four corners instead of three! Decisions were made, the wet finger in the air decided that it wouldn’t rain and the canopy was banished.  It’s a shame though as it had looked pretty good and now we looked like a typical lost little charity stand.
Teamed ticket sellers (Mum, Penny and Julia) trotted round to ask for sales wearing their purple tops with pride,especially my little neice Beth who loved her purple Ellie 'dress'! The tannoy kept calling out Little Miss Ellie and people came to support our stand and I was again struck with that same overwhelming sense of sickness and pride…that we had made it. Today would be a success after all.

Don’t get me wrong this was not easy today, this event, being here, seeing all these people who have been a part of our rocky journey, those who have helped us slowly picking up the pieces. Big hello and thanks to all you Aqua girls for turning out too, especially Lou I was still a blubbering wreck but at least there were enough people readily coming in to the fold to sell, to chat, and to walk dogs (who were amazingly patient and so good) so that I could delegate and detach myself to walk into the blustery sun, my favourite of all the weather combinations.

Dan’s sickness was more of the nerves variety and after watching the efforts of some of our more serious competitors, Chris and Nick breezing (literally) through the morning section, did nothing to allay this. But off he went with Lee checking and double checking.  Jonathan (his brother) played photographer and managed to catch all aspects of the journey, the nervous swim thought to the start of that wind beating cycle ride. During that time we watched and cheered with pride at Claire who’s sheer determination along with several purple clad onlookers, cheered her senseless to manage the painful last few legs of the run after completing her first (probably last, if she has anything to do with it) triathlon. Then Stewart came running in after his relay handovers from Kathryn and Hayley ensuring the North Wales possie had a good finish too.

And so, people started to gather, there were rumours that Dan may have arrived, ‘Is that him in the purple top and the red shorts…?’ No it was Lee (More Cheering!) then he was there! Well, an exhausted and broken man, pain etched across his forehead, who had climbed his own personal Mount Everest!  in a time he wanted too, but maybe another try next year??) He’d nearly given up but we cheered and Lee joined him for the final lap, making sure he reached the finish line at last!

Shortly after, we welcomed back the last of Team Ellie, Karin, Tina and Ali all crossing the line with everything to smile about. What an amazing effort everyone, there was so much purple pride it was amazing.
Oh! In case you’re wondering, sponsorships and donations and the raffle have generated nearly £3,500 for the Children’s Ward!

I hope everyone knows how proud we are of their achievements.
The tears were worth it this morning last night and the past four days. Love you all!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Prize Draw

Competition Details...
All items in the raffle have been donated on behalf of businesses and people in order to help raise funds towards Little Miss Ellie's cause for Leighton Hospital Children's Ward. 
All entrants will have numbered or coloured tickets and will have provided a name and contact number at time of purchase.
If you have won you will be notified by telephone and given until 31/05/2011 to collect.
Any unclaimed prizes will be reallocated to further prize draws for the fund.
Many Thanks.

Special Thanks to all who have contributed to make this such a great success!
Thanks too all my ticket sellers - you know who you are! Also...
Helen Slade, Kate Jones, Claire Coombs, Zoe Buckley, Masha the girls at Coppenhall COOP
for beg borrowing and not quite stealing to help get some great prizes!
Cottage Promotions printing the Tshirt Dave Stansfield for the free design work again!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

One day to go...

It's starting to feel like a lifetime ago that Vicky at the hospital told us all about her husband and his Iron Man competition and as Dan gears up for Sunday, getting his bags packed, legs stretched and stomache bile in the right place, I think he has eventually forgiven us both for convincing him that the triathlon was a good idea.
So one day to go and the pinacle of our fundraising is in sight.
There is an air of sadness to this because there was a time when we thought that Ellie may have been there too, granted it was expected that there would be a group of nurses on hand, an oxygen mask and transportable monitor, but looking back perhaps we were all a little too optomistic, she was such a fighter that we had all hoped she had been there.
So instead, those lovely nurses, our fantastic friends and family and you, lovely people that have become a surreal part of our equally surreal last few months will also be there, if not in spirit, then through all the fabulous prizes that have been donated. So thank You xxx

Check the blog later for a full list of the goodies. x

Thursday, 12 May 2011

and some days you don't.

Dan is all for me keeping my mind active but thinks I try and plan too much into a day and I'm beginning to think he might be right. The doctors appointment was the start and end to the day pretty much. I only had to sit in the waiting room to be confronted by mothers with their small babies, blonde curls, usually girls, to suddenly have that panic sweep up inside me.
Ellie was in the waiting room with me you see, we had sat in this same spot some months before when she was due her injections, that funny time, when she lived at home, you remember, those five weeks or so. Her name was lit up on that same board that I was desparately wishing my name would light up and trail across in little red l.e.d lights. I bit back tears until eventually I could leave, I couldn't hold them any longer and found myself being handed paper towels by my doctor.
When I left, my plans to meet friends and collect generously donated raffle prizes were all suddenly a very bad idea.  So apologies to those I let down today. This is the day of NOT talking.
On the bright side, we had a letter from the research people in Manchester, the scientists in Amsterdam have identified the second gene mutation that made Ellie die. See, its not all bad.

I got some local press coverage again this week, not a bad article at all.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Some days you feel like talking...

If you think that in amongst all this fundraising I've forgotten about my baby girl, I haven't, not that you would think that, why would you, because you are nice kind people. Hopefully?!
In fact it's the opposite, she is kept very much alive every-time someone offers me a free prize draw gift or to run or slim in her honour. There within lies a problem though you see, that at some point the fundraising will come to a natural close and then what is left?
Life is odd, to suddenly return back to everything you once knew in all the same places and all the same people and yet fundamentally something has changed irrevocably, you. (Well, me, obviously)
The life you thought was going to be so different with a new little person in it that was going to change you into a new character, a Mum., that life hasn't started like it was supposed to and its finished far quicker than it should have.
I find myself busy doing nothing and everything at the same time, craving solidarity because of the very nature of the past few months or living under a microscope and yet still missing something and being lonely. She has gone and there is a hole in my very existence.
I am thankful that I have a lovely network of friends that will happily let my mind meander in their presence and I promise, I am trying to start thinking about them more and remembering people's birthdays and to ask about their children.
My memory isn't like it was, my brain isn't my own at night and sleep is still a desirable commodity in our house but I'm hoping it will get better eventually. I'm not sure why I wanted to say that, but perhaps there are those few of you who are still reading that get it. You don't have to say anything, no one does, they still don't know what to say and that's ok too. Because some days, neither do I and some days, like today, I do.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Ellie's Purple Raffle

Ellie's Purple Raffle!

SUNDAY 22nd May Triathlon Day at Barony Park

Please help to spread the word!
please contact me for sales prior to the day, or if you can help with ticket sales 
£1 per ticket or £5.0 per strip
Some fabulous prizes donated by local business and friends of Ward 17!

PRIZES to include
Voucher for Free Photo Shoot with local portrait photographer Andy Farmer                                                    
Aqua Sphere Swim pack and Triathlon Entry (for any Uk Triathlon) Event
donated by Uk Triathlon      
Voucher for Arbonne luxury microdermabrasion treatment from Becky Gaskell at Perfect Me    
A pair of 1 Month trial memberships at Rookery Hall Spa from Handpicked Hotels                   
Flower Display from of Flowers by Alison
Beautiful candle table decoration made especially for Little Miss Ellie Fundraising by Baublicious

and more to follow including...
Couples Traditional Style Picnic Hamper (from Debbie Edwards)
Three Barrels Sherry
Bottles of Wine
Handmade Unique piece of Jewellery
Marks & Spencer toiletries sets
Mellissa & Doug childrens building block set (from Sarah Pell)

Get your hands on 
ASTON VILLA SHIRT signed by Darren Bent
in our
Look out for the purple banner on the day!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Triathlon Countdown...

Special Thanks to Cottage Promotions printing the Tshirt Dave Stansfield for the free design work again!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Running Chickens?

I smiled today, just at how much my darling baby girl has reached so many fabulous people. I had a lovely email from the Dan Roberts, Deputy Head Teacher at Saltash Community School, my cousin Nicki teaches here and some of the kids have already been fundraising in Ellie's honour. Dan was actually born at Leighton himself some many moons ago and we are incredibly touched by his gesture!

"I just wanted you to know that I will be completing the Plymouth Half Marathon on Sunday 29th May and will be fundraising on your behalf....any donations and they mention my name Dan or strange references to fat boy, pasty's or chickens then it is probably related to my run!"
He has set up a fab blog if you want to support him or pass it on!

Thank You Dan and Good Luck! 

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Fundraising Stars!

This weekend saw the London to Brighton Bike Ride where a group very kind gents from the South West took a gruelling trip to earn money in our baby girl's memory.

A huge thanks to all involved and a well done to Dave, Joe, Ben, Rob, Clive and Jake

Who have raised  = £1075!!! In Donations and Sponsorship.