NURSES have praised the generosity of a community group that has donated enough cash to buy a state-of-the-art baby incubator.

The £35,000 gift from the Malmesbury League of Friends is enough to buy one of the five new Drager Babyleo incubators for which Great Western Hospital charity Brighter Futures is currently fundraising.

Helen Orton, ward manager, said: “It’s incredible. We can’t thank them enough for raising this money. It will make such a difference to the babies on the special care baby unit and their families.”

The generous donation takes the SCBU incubator appeal to £147,000. The hospital hopes to raise £175,000 to buy the new kit, which are designed to mimic the womb and feature heated cushions, speakers to play the sound of the mother’s heartbeat and enormous openings in the side walls designed to help parents hold their baby as it lies in the incubator.

David Hide, chairman of the Malmesbury League of Friends, said a fellow trustee had recommended they donate to the SCBU appeal. The group, which was initially set up to support the old Malmesbury Hospital, has already given thousands to the Brighter Futures radiotherapy appeal.

“We know what an important role it is they perform here,” David said. “The League of Friends helps the locals within a 10 mile radius of Malmesbury. For those people, like me, who live in the town, the Great Western Hospital is our local hospital.

“If there are mums who come to GWH to give birth, they will be able to make use of these incubators. They are going to get much better treatment.”

Jane Leighton of GWH charity Brighter Futures said: “It’s their single biggest donation to date and it means we’re on the final lap of the appeal. It gives us real hope we will be able to close the appeal really soon. Their donation will make such a difference to the unit. They’re an amazing team here and they’re so focused on constantly improving the care offered to the families here.”

Mum-of-two Jane’s firstborn was premature and briefly taken to a special care unit to be checked-over by doctors: “Even that brief experience opens your eyes.”

To donate to the SCBU incubator appeal, call Brighter Futures on 01793 605631 or visit