GRATEFUL parents Abby and Jason Ayre had their own Christmas miracle after their beloved baby boys became severely ill within days of birth and they were warned to prepare for the worst.

When just five days old the twins, Acer and Axel ,from Catterick, became ill with suspected jaundice, the couple were advised to take them to Darlington A and E. Within hours Acer became severely ill, eventually a place was created for him at the RVI in Newcastle and he was rushed to paediatric intensive care.

Abby said: "At this point, we were told to prepare ourselves for the worst, as this was now a matter of life and death for Acer, something that as brand new parents of five day old twin boys, instantly delivered a monstrous roller coaster of so much pure, raw fear and anxiety."

Within hours Axel's condition deteriorated alarmingly and the team from Newcastle prepared a place for him next to his twin brother.

Abby added: "We will never be able to thank the RVI enough for this, because it at least allowed us to be in the same place together, to try to face this nightmare as a family unit, rather than one parent and baby at Darlington, and the other parent and twin at Newcastle. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally received a confirmed diagnosis of Viral Meningitis,

"This allowed a much more targeted, incisive, and effective approach to treatment by the truly magnificent staff, and after what seemed like a lifetime in hospital, and five days in paediatric intensive care, we began to cautiously allow ourselves to dare to believe things were going to turn out alright.

"We were finally able to bring both our little boys home on the seventeenth of December. As a family, we feel an overwhelming need to raise awareness of just how incredible this hospital, and all the staff within it actually are, and also of Crawford House, a charity funded house run by TheSickChildrensTrust, it provides accommodation on site for the parents of very sick children.

"This gave us a room to stay in, within hospital grounds, allowing us to spend maximum precious time with our little boys, not having to worry about commuting daily, allowing us to be by their bedsides day and night."

The couple have now launched a go fund me appeal to raise money for the Trust at