Gateshead dad spreads the cheer with charity fundraiser

Calvin's daughter Lily was born at just 24 weeks and to thank the charities that supported him he has organised a comedy night fundraiser

A dad from Gateshead has organised a comedy night to raise money for the charities that supported his family when his daughter was born prematurely.

Calvin Lawson’s daughter, Lily, was born at just 24 weeks, weighing 1lb 3oz, when his partner, Danielle, had to have an emergency caesarean after suffering from several bleeds and a cord prolapse.

After Lily was born, Calvin exhausted himself travelling between the maternity ward and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Royal Victoria Infirmary to be by both Danielle and Lily’s hospital bedsides.

For three days Calvin had to sleep in hospital chairs until he was given a comfortable place to stay just minutes away from hospital at Crawford House, a ‘Home from Home’ ran by The Sick Children’s Trust. Calvin, a 33 year old train conductor, said:

“Danielle had lots of complications and we were worried that she had lost the baby. The day and night that Lily was born I was up for 30 hours and eventually fell asleep in the chair next to Danielle’s bed.

“As soon as I found out that we had a room at Crawford House I went straight home to get us some clothes. I continued to spend my time between the two wards, but it wasn’t as exhausting as I could get some quality sleep without having to worry about being away from the hospital.

“Once Danielle was discharged, she stayed at Crawford House for the rest of the time that Lily was in hospital and I split my time between being at the hospital and going home to spend time with my oldest daughter.”

To thank the NHS staff, The Sick Children’s Trust and Newcastle charity Tiny Lives for its support, Calvin has organised a comedy night at The Stand in Newcastle on Tuesday 14 April, to raise money for both charities. Calvin added:

“The support that The Sick Children’s Trust provides is vital to parents. Crawford House was not just a place for me to get a good night’s sleep, it also gave me some escapism from the hospital.

“At Crawford House, there was a communal kitchen and with long days on the ward I’d spend time baking as I found it quite therapeutic to just focus on something else for a while.

“I’d then give them to the staff as a thank you and other families that were staying at Crawford House which was a great way for everyone to take their mind of our situations. Having the extra support from families who fully understand what you are going through helped to make the situation easier.”

The Sick Children’s Trust relies entirely on voluntary donations to give families a warm and comfortable place to stay, free of charge.  It cost the charity £30 to support a family for one night. £30 gives a family so much more than just a roof over their heads when their child is in hospital. £30 gives them someone to talk to, and a calm place to rest with their family. Andrew Leadbitter, Crawford House Manager, said:

“Calvin was incredibly supportive of the other families that were staying with us despite dealing with his own difficult situation. At a time when everything is uncertain The Sick Children’s Trust gives families, like Calvin’s, some stability in their day-to-day life, by supporting them with a place to stay close to their child.”

Doors to the show open at 7pm and tickets can be bought for £10 by contacting Calvin at or reserving them with The Stand. It is advised that those who will be attending should double check the event is going ahead closer to the time due to the Covid–19 outbreak.

For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit

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