Published on: 19 November 2021

Maternity specialists who help premature babies in their earliest days have helped show parents how their future could look as part of a global awareness drive.

The Neonatal Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital has created a display filled with stories of children it has welcomed into the world, detailing how small they were when they were delivered and showing photos of them as they are today.

They have also decorated the ward as part of the event, which aims to raise awareness of premature births and the impact they can have on the baby and their families throughout their lives.

It also marks the fact 15 million babies are born early across the world each year, with 60,000 of these in the UK.

The decorations include a washing line pegged with 10 pairs of socks, with one of those pairs smaller to represent the one in 10 babies who are born prematurely in the UK.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has also turned the outdoor lighting of its buildings purple for the week.

world prematurity day STDH lights.JPG

South Tyneside District Hospital, pictured as its lighting was turned purple to mark the awareness drive.

Sonia McNamara, a staff nurse on the unit, said: “We have decorated the unit showing children now and pictures of babies when they were born, including how much they weighed, to show how well they are doing.

“This is so parents can see them as they’re in the waiting room, because when they have a premature baby it can be so hard for them and it can help to see how others are doing.

“It can be a long journey, but we are here for them and we know they can get there.”

The unit has thanked the seven families who helped put together the display, which will be on show for the week. 

Details about the Neonatal care offered by South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust can be found via

Mini Miracles, which is one of the Trust’s own charity funds, works to support the unit through equipment, specialist training and better patient facilities, and more information can be found through

More about World Prematurity Day can be found through