THE unlikely spectacle of more than 60 women dressed as grandmas and granddads will be seen in York soon.

Donning wigs, make-up and reading glasses, the women will walk ten-miles around the city, stopping at a pub each mile.

But rather than taking part in a large-scale hen party, the women will be part of a challenge to raise money for York Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit, which cares for babies born prematurely or unwell.

Organiser Jo Starkey, who also helped set up a similar event last year, said: “It will be a funny sight for passers-by and I think when we get into town we we should raise a good amount of money.

“A lot of my friends have had children in the Special Care Baby Unit and the care they have been given is second to none.”

Carrying collection buckets, the team will be raising money to contribute to the £46,000 needed to buy two new ventilators, to help babies breathe, as well as smaller things such as “Say Hello” diaries for the babies to write to their brothers and sisters saying how they are doing. This helps siblings cope with their emotions as they are able to write back.

Stacy Payne, whose son, Thomas, was born 12 weeks early weighing just 2lb 13oz, is one of the fundraisers taking part along with friends and family. Thomas was cared for seven weeks at the unit.

She said: “The care Thomas received from York SCBU was second to none. The staff looked after him like he was their own. Not only that, but they were a fantastic support to my husband, myself and our two young girls. Our Christmas was spent with Thomas in SCBU and I can honestly say, they made it one of the best Christmases’ we’ve had.

"I cannot say in words how thankful I am to all staff at York SCBU; they truly are angels without wings. I can never repay them for the love and care they gave to my son and my family. All I can do is try to raise as much money as possible for the improvements to their ward.”

The team with be in town on March 1 and can be sponsored by texting SCBU59 and an amount to 70070, eg SCBU59 £10.