WHEN Alex and Lucy Beasley found out they were going to be parents, they were overjoyed and couldn’t wait to meet their baby boy.

Primary school teacher Lucy, 33, had a completely normal pregnancy, up until 25 weeks when the couple were rushed from their home in Driffield to Leeds General Infirmary after she went into labour unexpectedly.

After a complicated labour and birth, the couple welcomed baby Frankie into the world on August 13 last year, but they barely had a chance to look at their new-born before he was whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Alex, 30, a contracts manager for a roofing firm, says the whole experience felt so surreal: “Lucy and I spent four weeks by our little boy’s side, because Frankie was so small and fragile, we could only hold him and give him a cuddle a handful of times, we felt helpless. The one thing we could do was read stories to Frankie and he loved it, he would wriggle around, grab our fingers, and listening to our voices also calmed him down a lot and comforted him when he was distressed. Lucy would read ‘Room on the Broom’ over and over, I’m sure she probably knows it off by heart now.”

On September 10, after weeks of fighting Frankie sadly died. Alex and Lucy will treasure those four weeks with their little boy forever, and are so grateful to the staff on the ward for their care and support.

Lucy says it’s the little things that made a real difference to their stay on the unit:

She said: “The staff let us be involved in every step of Frankie’s care, from changing his nappy, to feeding and giving him a wash. Although these might seem like small things, looking back it meant so much to us and helped us bond with our little boy.”

In tribute to Frankie, Alex is having a full sleeve tattoo, complete with special memories of his baby boy, including some illustrations from ‘Room on the Broom’ the story that means so much to their family.

When Alex’s friend Sammy saw his tattoo, she came up with an amazing fundraising idea, to encourage friends and family to read to their child, grandchild, niece, nephew – whoever the special little people in their lives are, in memory of Frankie.

Throughout this week, the Beasley family are asking people to read ‘Room on the Broom’ or their family’s favourite story and make a donation to Leeds Hospitals Charity to help the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit look after poorly babies and their parents.