THOUSANDS of pounds have been raised for York Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) by staff and customers at an East Yorkshire store.

George Johnson, who works as a baker for Sainsbury’s Pocklington store, is among the supporters of the unit after his baby was born prematurely just before Christmas.

The unit had already been chosen as the supermarket’s local charity of the year when George’s daughter was born, having asked customers to vote for their favourite cause, and the collection has so far raised nearly £3,000. George, 26, and his partner Laura Mitchell, 24, have both thanked the SCBU for the excellent care they all received.

The couple, of Cherry Orchard Mews, Pocklington, commended the staff for all their help following the early birth of their daughter, April, on December 8. April weighed 5lb 1oz, and was admitted to SCBU where she stayed for three-and-a-half weeks.

Laura, who works at St John’s Pre-School and Nursery in Pocklington, was suffering from placenta praevia, a condition which can lead to complications later in pregnancy, and was taken into surgery following complaints of severe pain, which staff told her were contractions. Laura said: “It didn’t feel real. It happened so quickly. I was in disbelief.

“They were explaining what was going to happen and were all really nice and caring. They told me how long it would take and were just really nice.

“When April was born, they told us that she was okay and took her down to the unit.”

George said: “It was awful leaving her, but all the staff were really helpful.

“We felt safe enough to leave her at the unit.

“It was hard having to leave her in someone else’s care, but we completely trusted them.”