Crowborough mum helps life saving baby unit

Laura with mum Heather
Laura with mum Heather

As Christmas draws near, children up and down the land are sending off letters to Father Christmas asking for toys, gifts and goodies. But one little girl in Crowborough has a very unusual Christmas request and it’s one that only the local community can help deliver.

Laura Gullick, six, was born weighing just 2.5 pounds (1.08kg) at 32 weeks. She had ‘restricted growth’ and if her condition hadn’t been spotted she would have been stillborn. She was cared for by the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton for two months and was eventually allowed home on what would have been her due date. She still only weighed four pounds.

Her mum, Heather, 45, is attempting to set a new Speedballing World Record and is aiming to complete 30 hours non-stop from 9am on Saturday January 18, 2014 to 3.15pm on Sunday January 19 at the Crowborough Leisure Centre. Heather is raising money for The Early Birth Association which works with the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton to supplement funding for the specialist equipment to help save the lives of premature babies like Laura.

Speedballing involves boxing a small leather ball with alternate fists at a rapid rate and Heather has put in hours of training to ensure she can keep up the required pace for the 30 hour stint. She has been training using a specialist programme created by Nathan Shutt, personal trainer and strength and weightlifting coach at the centre.

To qualify for a world record, Heather needs 24 independent witnesses to do four hour shifts in teams of three throughout her attempt. People can witness more than one shift but need a minimum four hour break between sessions. The shifts Heather needs witnessed are: 9am-1pm; 1pm-5pm; 5pm-9pm and 9pm-1am Saturday January 18th and 1am-5am; 5am-9am; 9am-1pm and 1pm-3.15pm on Sunday January 19th.

To qualify for a record Heather cannot have witnesses who are family members or friends and all the witnesses must be ‘people of good standing in the community’, such as police officers, councillors, judges, justices of the peace and newspaper editors.

She went on: “I would dearly love to set the Speed Ball Guinness World Record but finding witnesses is proving harder than the training! When Laura heard I was worried I wouldn’t find enough people, she asked my husband Rik to record a YouTube video plea - They did this while I was out training one day and it brought a tear to my eye.”