Silent blessing

Abigail Newton-Smith, who was born three months prematurely, is the mascot of Big Shush, a fundraising initiative from the Tiny Lives Campaign for the refurbishment of the neonatal intensive care unit of Southmead Hospital, Bristol. The event, which will involve up to 50 Bristol-based schools in a sponsored silence on 16 November, is expected to raise £10,000 and awareness of the fragile heath condition of premature babies.

"Waiting for my baby to cry was one of the hardest things," said Abigail's mother. "There was just deathly silence." Schools have received a mail pack containing sponsorship forms and certificates that will be given to each pupil as a reward for their participation. The school that will stay quiet the longest will win a prize of chocolate.

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