DOZENS of families who had babies cared for in a hospital unit turned out for a huge party organised by nurses.

Jodie Pedan, Jennifer Burrell-Jones and Jessica Clarke, spent the last two months organising the festive get together for current and former patients of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Royal Bolton Hospital.

Nurse Jodie said: "It is quite traumatic being on NICU, so we thought if we could bring the families somewhere away from the hospital, away from the memories and just have a bit of fun at Christmas, we could. So we did."

They were also joined by former patients, who were full of praise for the staff who had cared for them.

“A lot of our parents like to come back to us at Christmas but a lot of them struggle to come back through those doors and all the noises and smells," Jodie said.

"There’s 20 members of staff so [this meant] they could reconnect with staff and give them a positive experience.”

Among the guests were Samantha Clague-Houghton, 34 and husband Mark, 30, who welcomed triplets Penelope, Anabelle and Hugo on April 13, 2018.

They spent seven weeks on NICU after the babies were born 10 weeks prematurely.

Praising the staff on the unit, Samantha said her children were now "happy and healthy".

She said: “I can’t even speak about it. Amazing. Just amazing. I can’t even thank them enough for everything, from start to finish.”

Talking about her triplets, she added: "They’re amazing. There was a few complications in hospital but nothing massive. Since we have been home it has been literally perfect. We’ve had no issues at all and they have not been in hospital.”

The party took place at Lostock Parish Centre on Saturday and guests were treated to a ball-pit, tombola, face-painting and a Santa’s grotto.

The trio of nurses said that they planned to host another party for NICU families next year, with a bigger venue and more people.