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On 18 November 1983, New Brighton couple Jan Walton and her husband Graham became parents to the world’s first single-gender sextuplets with six daughters, Hannah, Lucy, Ruth, Sarah, Kate and Jenny delivered by caesarian section in under four minutes at Oxford Street maternity hospital.
After 13 attempts at fertility treatment, Jan and Graham had been accepted by an adoption agency only a few weeks before Jan, returning from holiday and thinking she had a stomach bug, discovered she was pregnant. During a routine scan, the couple were understandably shocked to discover they were expecting not one but six babies.
In 1995, with her girls settled at secondary school, Jan became hospital fundraising manager at Liverpool Women’s after attending the launch of the appeal in 1992 to raise funds for specialist equipment needed to support Neonatal research and care.
Opened in 1995 by Princess Diana, the £30 million Liverpool Women’s hospital became an NHS Trust in 2005, combining services for women and babies across Liverpool at the Crown Street hospital site, making it the largest women’s hospital in Europe.
Each year, Liverpool Women’s NHS Trust delivers over 8,000 babies, carries out 10,000 gynaecological procedures and cares for 1,000 pre-term infants on at Neonatal Unit.
Before leaving the role in 2015, Jan helped raise over £2.5 million for the Neonatal Unit, including the launch of the Newborn Appeal which inspired Little Woollens.
Little Woollens relies on over 300 volunteers to knit and crochet baby-wear items from newborn-to-12 months which are sold at the Little Woollens Shop every weekday in the main hospital reception.
The money raised not only helps vulnerable babies on Merseyside, but babies who are transferred from other hospitals due to the expertise available from Liverpool Women’s neonatal care.
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