A COUPLE given a precious few hours with their prematurely born daughter before she died are raising funds for the charity that supported them through the tragedy.

Kris and Toni Hodgson have two very good reasons to support Tiny Lives after their first child Evangeline Grace and third daughter Indie were born after 24 weeks.

The couple from Sunniside, near Tow Law, County Durham, were told Evangeline, who weighed just three quarters of a pound, would be dead as soon as she was removed from the womb during an emergency caesarean section in 2009.

But thanks to staff at the Great North Children’s Hospital at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, the couple were given a day-and-a-half with their daughter which enabled them to introduce her to the family and have her Christened.

Mr Hodgson, 29, said: “We are totally indebted to them for that time.

"We can’t describe how important it was to us, it meant we actually got to spend time with our daughter.”

The couple then had daughter Nevaeh, now three, who arrived at a healthy eight pounds after 39 weeks in 2010.

But they had yet more trauma with their third daughter, Indie, after Mrs Hodgson’s waters broke just 19 weeks into her pregnancy.

Mrs Hodgson, 28, said: “With the water gone we knew the baby was at risk of infections and would have lung troubles, but we had to keep her in the womb for as long as we could to give her a chance of surviving.”

Indie, now aged 11 months, was eventually born after 23 weeks and five days, weighing just 1lb 4oz.

Mr Hodgson said: “We were living hour to hour. Indie’s chances were not good but somehow, every time it looked as if she would need an operation or some treatment, she managed to side-step it.”

Indie, who still requires constant oxygen, was able to return home after 19 weeks in hospital.

Throughout their two ordeals, the family were supported by the Tiny Lives charity, which offers emotional, practical and financial support to more than 700 families a year who have premature or ill new born babies.

Mr Hodgson said: “The support they gave us was invaluable.”

A family fun night will be held at the Lamplight Arts Centre in Stanley, County Durham, at 5.30pm on Saturday, April 26, featuring games, entertainment a disco and a doughnut eating competition. Tickets cost £6 from Mrs Hodgson on 07794-262012.

Mr Hodgson will also be running the Great North Run in aid of Tiny Lives later this year.