A brave boy whose life was saved by Sheffield doctors was treated to a day down on the farm - as his dad lent his support to a big fundraising drive for the city’s hospitals.
Rhys Gardner, now aged two, was born 14 weeks prematurely weighing just 1lb 10oz, and needed special care at the Jessop maternity wing because of his fragile condition.
In his first few weeks of life, the tiny baby contracted three potentially fatal infections, suffered a collapsed lung, and needed three operations - with medics giving him only a 20 per cent chance of survival.
But, after three months in hospital, Rhys managed to recover - and now his dad Matt, 34, has signed up to the Master Cutler’s Challenge.
This year the challenge is being held in aid of the Sheffield Hospitals Charity as well as Whirlow Hall Farm, where yesterday the toddler had the chance to meet a host of cute animals including newborn piglets.
Teams are given £100 which they are tasked with turning into as much money as possible over a six-month period, using their business, entrepreneurial and fundraising skills.
“I wanted to get involved to show how much the care and facilities at the Jessop Wing meant to my family – they helped to save my son’s life and gave me the family I have today,” said RAF engineer Matt.
The dad has already got his boss and colleagues on board with the challenge, sponsored this year by Sheffield Forgemasters, where Master Cutler Tony Pedder is chairman.
Matt and wife Vicky, 33, from Edlington, Doncaster, have previously raised more than £2,000 for the hospitals charity through an 83-mile run and raffle.
Mistress Cutler Jane Pedder, who is married to Tony, said: “I hope Rhys’ story inspires more businesses to take on our exciting challenge.”
n Visit www.mastercutlerschallenge2014.co.uk for more information.