Kent-based scaffolder Lee Camden and his son Frankie are constructing a charity fundraising project to help the Oliver Fisher Neonatal ward at Medway Hospital buy vital equipment.
It’s a personal mission fired up from the day medical staff saved his newborn son’s life, at a time when he wasn’t expected to get through the first 24 hours. Two weeks overdue Frankie had six probes attached to him as he fought for life. In fact, Frankie was just 20 minutes away from being stillborn. Both parents were told he might not be able to walk, talk or even hear, but somehow he pulled through.
Six years on from that fraught and fearful day, Frankie is turning into a strong and vibrant youngster, though he does need hearing aid devices.
It’s just a reminder of what a lot of love, determination and skill from those amazing NHS staff can achieve even in the darkest of hours. And don’t bet on Frankie eventually following his dad into the scaffolding business, as he’s already becoming highly skilled at organising very special toy scaffolding at home. It’s all part of a fascinating family story as Lee explained:
“It all goes back to my own dad, Phill Camden because, from the moment I became aware of what was going on around me, I wanted to be a scaffolder. He got me a kit very much like Meccano, except it was toy scaffolding. It was fantastic putting structures together and it taught me such a lot at a young age.
“The scaffolding bug never left me, so it was no surprise I eventually ended up in this wonderful industry. I still had the toy kit in the loft and Frankie knew about it – he kept asking me to get out Grandad’s kit. Soon Frankie was creating some impressive mini scaffolding around the house especially on the stairs.”
So far Lee and Frankie have managed to raise more than £1,000 for the hospital – there’s no specific target – just to get as much money as possible, so the ward can buy what it needs to keep improving their services. They don’t get any special budget from the NHS, so a lot of equipment is provided through donations.
The Oliver Fisher Baby Unit is a tertiary neonatal facility caring for babies who require intensive care. They care for babies from Medway and the surrounding South-East Thames region including Dartford, Gravesend, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. It’s a 36-cot unit.
Lee began making toy scaffolding sets in order to sell them with £10 profit on each set going to the unit. They include a sprinter half back, tube, fittings, boards, one ladder and yard fencing. Enough to build a 20 x 30 structure.
He added: “To be honest it would be great to get a work clothing range we can sell to make more money for the hospital. We’re already carrying out research and hope to be able to put the plan into action very soon.
“We’ve also been talking about arranging a soapbox race day involving scaffolders and builders. We’ll do whatever possible to keep the fundraising going. The Ward staff certainly saved my son’s life and a lot of others since, so I’m passionate about helping them as much as possible especially during such difficult times.”
Frankie’s toy scaffolding is becoming quite a social media hit across the UK – in fact, Lee might just have created a new trend. More importantly, it’s building funds for a vital unit in the heart of the NHS, saving lives at the same time. So why not play your part in this wonderful story?
You can donate to Frankie’s charity fundraising project by visiting their GoFundme page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/toy-scaffolding?utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer