Charitable couple get No 10 invite

Thurrock Gazette: The Axford family The Axford family

A COUPLE have been chosen as guests of honour at Downing Street thanks to their outstanding dedication to a charity.

Faye and Carl Axford, from Stanford-le-Hope, will meet the Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron, after their names were nominated by staff at the Ronald McDonald House in Camberwell, London.

The charity provided free accommodation for the couple while son Callum, now two, underwent life-saving surgery at Kings College Hospital.

He was born with rare condition congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which left him with a gaping hole in his diaphragm.

The couple have since raised thousands for the charity with the help of family and friends.

They raised more than £2,000 alone from a charity raffle while Callum’s uncle Jason Hills, 39, raised another £2,000 by running the London Marathon last year.

Faye, 30, said: “I can’t believe it. When we got a letter through the door with a stamp from Downing Street my first thought was that it must be something about voting.

"When I opened the letter, I just stared at it for a few minutes in complete shock.

“We’re one of the couples who stayed at Ronald McDonald House for a long time, so we got to know everyone really well. We’re so grateful for everything they did to help us.

"We have tried to support them ever since and raise money whenever we can.”

Callum, who is the only premature baby in the country to survive the condition, was in hospital for 30 weeks while his parents spent eight months living at the Ronald McDonald House.

The couple are one of 14 couples across Britain who have been invited to the event on Tuesday, February 26, as a celebration of the important work of the Ronald McDonald House Charity.

Faye added: “Samantha has lost a child, so obviously she will understand what everyone is going through.

"I don’t know if we will get to meet the Prime Minister as well, but not many people can say they’ve been inside 10 Downing Street! It’s very exciting.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of the condition and I’m already planning what I’m going to say to her.”

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