Little Lucy Walker weighed less than a bag of sugar when she was born - but thanks to the special care she received at Bath's neo-natal ward she is now a happy, healthy three-year-old.

Lucy, whose parents Donna and Alistair live in Derry Hill, near Calne, was born in October 2003 and is one of the most premature babies ever to have survived at the NICU unit at the Royal United hospital.

Mr and Mrs Walker were told that she only had a 10 per cent chance of survival because she was just 1lb 9oz.

Lucy could only fit into dolls clothes for her first few weeks at NICU and was so fragile that her mother didn't hold her for a month.

She said: "Touch wood there's no long term damage mentally or physically. Mentally she's all there. She is small and she always will be."

Mrs Walker, 38, says she is thrilled that the Forever Friends Appeal is campaigning for a new ward and although the care they received was fantastic it was very cramped.

She said: "Considering the space they had and what they did, it was incredible but it seems a lot more babies are being born prematurely so they need the space for equipment."

Mrs Walker gave birth to Lucy at 23 weeks and five days. "She was still in termination territory - that really freaked me that I'd never really thought about it before," she added.

The NICU ward cares for premature and seriously ill babies for up to six months. Lucy spent 20 weeks on the ward before she was well enough for her parents to take her home.

Mrs Walker said: "I don't think there was anybody there as long as we were at the time but even the after care from NICU has been fantastic."

Mrs Walker was fortunate in that when she went into labour there was space for Lucy on the NICU ward.

Some have to travel to other hospitals in what can be a long and dangerous journey. She said: "You just expect your baby to be in that hospital.

"I never even considered that I would have to move."

She added: "There just should be enough beds for however many they have to cope with."

Jo Hones is the Events and Community officer for The Forever Friends Appeal. She says the campaign is going well so far.

"It's had a really good response. Lots of people have wanted to do events, people wanting to do sky dives for us and one chap is doing the New York marathon because he was premature 50 years ago."

For more information on how to donate or raise money contact the Forever Friends Appeal at or call (01225) 825691.