Miracle baby’s return to Blackpool to say thanks

Sister Mary Robinson, Suzanne Clarke, staff nurse Danni Porter, and Gareth Clarke
Sister Mary Robinson, Suzanne Clarke, staff nurse Danni Porter, and Gareth Clarke

A man who was born in Blackpool weighing less than two pounds has made an emotional return.

Gareth Clarke, now 25, was born at the Victoria Hospital after his mum Suzanne went into labour while holidaying in the resort.

The pair, from Rotherham, visited the hospital to thank staff – including Mary Robinson, who was working on the neonatal unit in 1991.

Gareth, who has cerebral palsy, said: “I’m happy to be here today to see where I was born.”

Suzanne was in Blackpool for a day trip with her boyfriend when she went into slow labour.

Hours later, aged 19, she gave birth to Gareth, who weighed just one pound and 12 ounces.

After he contracted an infection at 10 weeks, doctors said he was unlikely to survive, or walk or talk.

Ward manager Catherine Nash said: “Nowadays, medicine has advanced so much that we would be able to offer a lot more help to a baby born at 24 weeks. Twenty-five years ago, the chances of survival were a lot less, so it’s great to see Gareth return as a grown man doing so well.”

Suzanne added: “I’m so proud of Gareth because of what he has faced in life.

“It’s so inspiring to see how he copes on a daily basis. It’s nice to see the unit again now. It’s changed a lot.”

Gareth, who also suffered from heart problems, now lives independently not far from his mum,