A CWMBRAN car club has raised more than £2,000 for the hospital which saved the life of the son of two of its members.
Andy and Helen Campling, whose three-year-old son Ben underwent life-changing surgery for a rare heart condition in 2012, helped Forresters to raise more than £2,300 for Bristol Children's Hospital Wallace and Gromit appeal last year, when the club chose them as charity of the year because of Ben.
The family helped sell rally tickets and organise quiz nights to raise cash.
Ben was just a baby when in November 2010 he became ill and grey-looking, screaming with pain from lung and stomach troubles which, unbeknownst to his parents and doctors, all stemmed from a rare heart condition called cor-triatrium.
While doctors scanned Ben’s stomach and lungs and found nothing wrong, a membrane had grown over the left hand side of his heart, causing the right hand side to work harder and become enlarged.
After two years of repeated visits to doctors and the hospital, motorsport enthusiast Mr Campling was home with Ben one day when he noticed his son was very thin, “a bag of bones”, he said.
The pair took Ben to Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital where his heart was scanned by a paediatrician with a specialism in cardiology - revealing the membrane which had been stifling growth in the left side of his young heart.
At the end of August 2012, aged two, Ben underwent surgery and spent two days in intensive care. Having undergone hundreds of tests and scans in his young life, Ben will not need another operation. He now attends nursery, goes swimming and dreams of becoming a fireman.
Forresters’ chairman Neil Fuller said: "Every year we adopt a different charity to support and when Helen and Andy told us Ben’s story we decided straight away to support the Wallace and Gromit appeal in 2013.”
The club organised various fundraising activities throughout the year, including raffles at each of the three rallies they held at the Caerwent military training area and a motorsport evening hosted by Newtown Motors in Cwmbran and at their recent annual awards evening Ben himself was on hand to present a cheque to Amy Ryder from the charity.
"Obviously Helen and Andy were the driving force behind this, but everyone in the club has played their part and we have had lots of help from others, such as the staff at Newtown Motors, as well," he said.