Published on: 21 December 2022

A team of colleagues who care for premature babies are walking their way between winter wonderlands to make hospital visits better for families this Christmas and beyond.

Members of the Neonatal Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital are aiming to walk a total of 1,367 miles between them in the lead up to the 12th day of Christmas, Friday, January 6, to boost funds for the ward.

Each member is walking as many steps as they can during the Christmas market challenge.

They then add their distance to a total through the Strava website, totting up the miles in a bid to hit the goal.

If they were to walk the route through Europe, the distance would take them from the doors of the hospital to York then pass through nine other locations which host festive fairs and finish in Prague in the Czech Republic.

Members of the Neonatal Unit team taking part in the walk..jpg

Some of the members of the Neonatal Unit taking part in the challenge.

Funds raised through the task will be used to buy families gifts to make their visit to the unit extra special and go towards a longer-term plan for the renovation of part of the unit.

The revamped area will make it a nicer place for families to visit their babies and for other siblings, creating comfortable spaces for them to relax and take a break.

The challenge comes after the team previously succeeded in a similar campaign to cover the distance from the hospital to Lapland.

The funds will be gifted to the unit through South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s STS Charity, which runs Mini Miracles, a specific fund for the ward.

Emily Cameron, the unit’s manager, said:

"We did something like this couple of years ago during COVID because we needed an activity where we could socially distance and we wanted to do something a little bit different to raise money for the unit.

"We would all go out and do our daily walks and then share our distance and a photo to Strava and it helped keep the team together when we couldn’t celebrate Christmas together.

"It worked well, so we thought we’d do it again and build up the distance, so we’re all doing out bit to add to our total.

"The money raised will make such a difference and make our unit much nicer for families."

The full route of the virtual walk is Sunderland Royal Hospital; York; Rotterdam; Amsterdam; Brussels; Cologne; Luxembourg; Strasbourg; Munich; Salzburg and Prague.

To donate to the fund, visit 

More details about the STS Charity can be found through