A STUDENT who helped raise an incredible £4,500 for a hospital neonatal unit is now experiencing working life on the unit.

Ellie Dalton, a student at the McMillan Academy, in Middlesbrough, recently organised a charity auction at her school, raising thousands of pounds to help future babies and their families at the James Cook University Hospital neonatal unit.

Now Ellie, 17, is looking to the future by experiencing working life on the same Middlesbrough neonatal unit.

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Ellie carries out work experience twice a week at the hospital, helping staff and learning about the different neonatal nursing roles at the unit which cares for tiny poorly and premature babies.

She has also won the Star Fundraising Volunteer Award (sponsored by Endeavour Housing) at the 2012 Middlesbrough Volunteering Star Awards.

Ellie was nominated by Sarah Barrett of Macmillan Academy for her fundraising efforts for the unit and the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Organised by Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency, Teesside University, West Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Trust, Middlesbrough Council, The BME Network and Community Voice FM, the awards recognise and celebrate volunteering and pay tribute to exceptional individuals and organisations who make a real difference to the lives of others.

She said: "I am happy to help such a worthwhile cause. I absolutely love working at James Cook and much appreciate the opportunity."

Lynne Paterson, neonatal nurse consultant, said: "We're delighted Ellie has won an award and proud of her achievement. She has done such a lot of fundraising for us and she should be really pleased with herself. "She is helpful, enthusiastic and a breath of fresh air on the unit. We really appreciate her support and wish her well for the future, obviously hoping she chooses a career in nursing."