Grateful grandad goes distance to thank charity for helping Hawick family

Toyah Chetwynd with baby Alexis Jade.
Toyah Chetwynd with baby Alexis Jade.

A grateful grandad defied serious health issues to take part in a gruelling sponsored walk to thank a charity for the support it has given to his granddaughter.

Alexis Jade Walsh was born prematurely on February 8 this year with gastroschisis, a birth defect leading to her intestines being on the outside of her body.

Paul Chetwynd and dog Skylar.

Paul Chetwynd and dog Skylar.

While Alexis Jade and mum Toyah Chetwynd, of Hawick, were at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, they were helped out by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.

Now known as the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, it provided free accommodation for Toyah and her partner Jamie Walsh while their daughter underwent intensive treatment.

The youngster spent three weeks in a neo-natal ward under 24-hour supervision but is now making great progress.

Alexis’s grandad, Paul Chetwynd, was so grateful for the support she received that he decided to take part in a 62-mile Northumbrian coastal walk in aid of the charity.

That was no easy effort as handyman Paul, 51, of Teviothead, suffers from both osteoporosis and a serious heart condition, but he completed the hike last week, accompanied by his new puppy Skylar and, for parts of it, by his brother-in-law Joe Hemsley.

Paul has raised £500 for the charity via a JustGiving page, and he said: “The new family couldn’t thank the team enough, so we did this to show them our support and gratitude for helping them out in a tough time, in a place they didn’t know and in a situation all new to them both. Alexis is doing great. She’s a fighter.”

Toyah added: “We were worried about being up in Edinburgh on our own with a poorly baby and, at first, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to stay there.

“After being transferred over from the maternity hospital, we were offered a room upstairs in the parent accommodation.”

“There’s a few bedrooms, toilets and bathrooms, a wee kitchen and sitting room, all looked after by the charity and offered free to parents with sick kids in critical care.”