POORLY babies and their families at Southend Hospital have been given a boost thanks to the fundraising efforts of an Ashingdon mum.

Emma Cox, her husband Danny, and sons Jamie, eight, and Eden, one, handed over a cheque for more than £8,200 following a star-studded charity ball, held at the Park Inn Hotel, in Southend, in July.

Alfie’s Ball is held in memory of Alfie Cox, the couple’s middle son, who was stillborn at 21 weeks, in July, 2016. More than 140 guests enjoyed a three-course meal as well as live entertainment from X Factor finalists singers Russell Jones Jnr and Talia Dean. Two dancers from Nash Dance Academy, in Southend, also performed. The ball was sponsored by Basildon-based Underfloor Heating Store and fellow Essex firm Railscape.

The money, which also includes a sum donated by Billericay’s Wolf Urban Health Coaching founder, Bridgette Smith, in memory of her dad, Alfie, will be split between the fetal medicine and neonatal units at the hospital.

The Cox family have raised more than £17,000 for Southend Hospital since 2011, when Emma and Danny’s first son Jamie was born at 29 weeks, and spent more than a month on he neonatal unit. Their youngest son Eden, also spent a month on the unit, after being born at 30 weeks.

Emma, 40, of Rectory Avenue, said: “We are really pleased that we have raised yet another fantastic amount for two departments at Southend hospital that are very close to our hearts.

“This money will help these departments continue to provide outstanding care to pregnant women and babies in need of support. These departments looked after me and our two living children and we will forever be eternally grateful.”