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Dad of the year Simon gave up his job to care for family

A devoted Bexhill dad has been nominated for a national charity’s award by his fiancée in honour of the strength and love he showed after the premature birth of their daughter who weighed in at just 2lb when she was born.

Hannah Higgins, 35, said her construction worker Simon, 36, was a ‘rock’ during Lila’s time in hospital and took care of the whole family. To show her gratitude she nominated him for the Tommy’s Angel award.

Hannah said Lila was born after an emergency Caesarean-section at 28 weeks in January 2013, weighing 2lbs, adding: “She was born so early that she struggled to breath and was immediately placed on a ventilator - which she rarely came off for the next month.”

Within 48 hours of being born, Lila suffered a large bleed on her lungs and needed six blood transfusions. After a month at Ashford Hospital, she was transferred to Eastbourne Hospital for another month before finally being allowed home.

Not wanting to leave Lila and Hannah’s side, Simon made the decision to leave his job soon after the birth. Being an hour away from their Bexhill home this often meant he was sleeping on hospital floors and later B&Bs. Throughout Lila’s time in hospital, Simon arranged childcare for Hannah’s other children and kept friends and family in the loop on Lila’s progress.

Hannah said aside from severe acid reflux, one-year-old Lila is doing well.

Hannah, a full-time mum, said: “Simon took away every bit of stress from me so that I could be strong for Lila. I would never have been able to keep it together and stay so positive and strong without him – I don’t think I could’ve got through that time without his support. He was our rock and is our angel.”

Hannah nominated Simon for national charity Tommy’s Angel Award - which is to thank a partner, relative, or friend who has gone above and beyond to support someone through a pregnancy complication or loss, and has proved to be a real ‘angel’.

For further information on Tommy’s visit the website at: www.tommys.org

Simon said he was surprised to hear that Hannah had nominated him for the award and wondered what she was talking about when she said he might be getting a call from the Bexhill Observer He said he did not hesitate to give up his job to take care of his family. “We nearly lost Lila a couple of times during the first 48 hours and I wasn’t going to leave her.

“Someone had to be in Ashford full-time and I was there for a month before Lila was transferred to Eastbourne. I worked for a short period but I wasn’t able to see her or feed her and with the other children to care for I realised I’d have to give up work.

“Family come first and you can work all your life so you’re better off looking after your kids.”

Simon and Hannah are planning to marry in June.

 

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