THE parents of prematurely-born twins helped organise a charity ball for the Royal Bolton Hospital’s neonatal unit.

Ava and Archie were 15 weeks early when they were born in July. They were cared for in the neonatal unit until November.

To say thank-you, parents Alex and Declan Grice organised the raffle on the night and raised £2,917.70 for the unit.

Alex said: “You have a lot of time on your hands when the babies are in the neonatal unit. When I heard the team talking about planning a ball, I just wanted to help.

“We just wanted to get involved to give them as much help as possible.

“It was a great night and I’m so pleased with the money raised.”

Alex and Declan spent a total of 126 days at the unit where their twins were being cared for.

“While you are there you experience so much,” Alex said. “We saw so much loss, we saw lots of babies go through even more dramatic things than what we went through.”

The new parents hope that the money can be used to improve the experience of others who visit the unit.

“We had to stay in their parent accommodation, the rooms were so basic and had nothing in them.

“It could have just been made a nicer experience for parents while staying there.”

Following their time at the unit, Ava and Archie are now going from strength to strength.

Alex said: “They laugh, they roll, they eat. They’re doing amazing. We are now in the process of getting them off oxygen.

“They’re absolutely happy and it’s all down to the nurses.”

Friends and family came along to the charity ball, where raffle prizes included a year’s supply of toilet roll! It was a much-needed night of celebration for the parents.

“We danced until our feet were sore!” said Alex.

Cath Bainbridge, matron of the unit, said: “It was really kind of Alex and Declan to help in this way and it has been lovely to see the progress that the twins have made.”