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Victoria Wood

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Colin describes wife Livia – who he met on a film set in1995 – as ‘smart and beautiful’

❝Family is everything to me❞ Tipped for an Oscar for his latest role playing King George VI, Colin Firth tells of the challenge of playing the stammering king – and his own love for his family 16

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By Alison James e’s as tall, dark and handsome as he appears on screen, but in the flesh Colin Firth (50) is also looking tired. It’s not surprising. Toronto, New York, London… he’s been globe-trotting to promote his new film The King’s Speech, in which he plays King George VI. Far from the usual historical royal yarn, it’s the tale of how a shy, diffident prince – not born to be king and with no desire to be one – dealt with both the abdication crisis and a debilitating stammer. “It’s the third time I’ve played a person with a stammer. I thought I’d just do the same as before and pull the performance out of my metaphorical acting drawer labelled ‘stammer’, but that wasn’t the case. The people in question were different and, in some ways, their stammer was part of their personality. I gained insight into the king’s character by seeing how determined he was to overcome his speech impediment, which was heightened by the abdication crisis. “I found him fiercely honest and extremely brave – but I don’t think he felt brave, just suffocated by fear. And he was funny. If you read anything he wrote, there’s a wry humour that’s an immense sign of character.” Colin tells how George, or Bertie as he was known by friends and family, was helped in his public speaking by Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush. “Logue didn’t ‘cure’ him – we were conscious that this shouldn’t be a film about a miraculous recovery – but his methods certainly helped the king learn how to control and overcome his stammer.”

H

Colin’s been widely tipped to win an Oscar for his performance. “It’s extremely gratifying that people are talking like this,” he says. “I’ve been at the other end of the scale so many times in my career, where you just get verbal rotten cabbages thrown at you. It’s wonderful there’s so much warmth and enthusiasm towards the film.” It’s impossible not to feel warmth and enthusiasm towards Colin, too. Charming, self-deprecating, intelligent, sensitive, funny, modest… the list goes on. Livia, his Italian wife of 13 years, and mother of his two younger sons, Luca (9) and Matteo (7), is a lucky

‘My wife is the smartest person on earth – it was love at first sight’ woman. Yet in typical Firth fashion, he counts himself as the fortunate one. “She is the smartest person on earth,” he says of his wife. “She’s an Italian beauty and far more secure than I am. It was love at first sight.” The couple met on the set of the 1995 BBC TV film, Nostromo – Livia was working as a production assistant. “I immediately felt she was amazing,” he recalls. “Once we’d married I felt more settled and at peace. I’ve never looked back. Marriage and children – nothing comes close to that.” Family is of the greatest importance to Colin, who also has a son, William (20), by Canadian actress Meg Tilly. “My life revolves around my family,” he says. “I’d die for them. “What strikes me about the Italians

Colin as King George VI, with co-star Helena Bonham Carter (left); and as dashing Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (right)

is their attachment to family. Livia’s family is beautiful and very close. From the Italian family is derived a sense of inner security and stability that’s not found in other cultures. We English, on the other hand, are always wandering apart. When I met my wife I had to court her; present myself to her father. I’d never met a 26-year-old woman still living with her parents.” Does Colin think the Queen will approve of his portrayal of her beloved father? And what will she think of the controversial scene in which he lets out a stream of swear words as a kind of therapy? “I couldn’t possibly comment,” he says, with a twinkle in his eye. “Although it has crossed my mind. But I can’t imagine there are many adults who haven’t heard certain words – not even the Queen. That scene would have been peppered with far more profanities if I’d been left to my own devices. The producers came running in and told me I had to tone it down!” Actress Helena Bonham Carter is playing Queen Elizabeth, who, of course, became the Queen Mother. Helena says: “I actually met Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother once. One of my earliest films, A Room With A View, was chosen as the Royal Film Premiere back in the Eighties. She was graceful with an air of charming vagueness about her. But from reading books about her in preparation for this role, it emerged she was also very strong. She was the personification of that classic phrase ‘behind every great man, there’s an even greater woman’. “One of her dearest friends, Cecil Beaton, described her as a ‘marshmallow but made in a welding machine’ and I think that’s very apt. She had this enormous inner strength. It’s this side of her I hope I’ve managed to get across. I don’t look like her, but hope I’ve captured the essence of her. She was extraordinary and she gave her husband the confidence he lacked. They were a great partnership.” D The King’s Speech is released on January 7 YOURS

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y star chat y

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Feel confiden

A cold, dark winter doesn’t have to mean dreary clot By Jade Pickering

Block colours Block colour is easy to wear and can be ultra-slimming too. Add a waist belt to nip you in at your narrowest part and team with matching accessories for the perfect evening outfit.

BrighT coaT

Blue cowl neck dress (0380103816), £55, sizes 8-20, Principles by Ben Di lisi at Debenhams; patent courts (FY184oE), £50, sizes 4-8, ravel at Marisota; chunky necklace, £25, Principles by Ben Di lisi at Debenhams; chain belt (189657001), £15, sizes s-l, Wallis; ruffle clutch, £10, cherokee at Tesco.

Winter doesn’t have to be boring, so brighten it up with a cheerful coat. It’s one of the easiest ways to wear colour and will brighten up a dreary winter wardrobe.

StockiStS: Accessorize 0844 811 0068; Debenhams 0844 561 6161; Dorothy Perkins 0845 121 4515; Marisota 0871 231 2000; Monsoon 0844 811 0068 www.monsoon.co.uk; Noa Noa 0207 247 6265 www.noanoa.com; Next 0844 844 8939 www.next.co.uk; Tesco 0800 505 555; The Shoe Tailor 0871 231 5000 www.simplybe.co.uk; Wallis 0845 121 4520 Details correct at time of going to press

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YOUR105-36-37 Fashion.indd 36

Yellow-gold pea coat (1200103 140), £70, sizes 8-22, John rocha at Debenhams; trousers, £18, sizes 8-20, F&F at Tesco; patent flats (FZ569NQ), £25, sizes 4-9, The shoe Tailor at simply Be.

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Style

ent in colour

notes

eary clothes: here’s how to make the most of colour

Bright accessories if colourful clothes aren’t for you – here’s how to play it safe with bright accessories

lime ruffle knit scarf, £18, Wallis

Vicenza circle detail wide bangle, £8, Debenhams

alpna clutch, £25, accessorize

PHOTOGRAPHY RUTH JENkINSON; HAIR ANd mAkE-UP OlIVIA FERRER ANd HANAN TOUHAmI; STYlING dANIEllE ElmES

Footglove leather round toe pumps, £35, sizes 3-8, available at Marks and spencer

PriNT ToP For daytime comfort wear a busy print with a bright knit to add a youthful twist to a simple outfit. This top is great for hiding ‘problem’ areas such as a wobbly tum. Print top (0280103406), £25, sizes10-22, collection at Debenhams; emerald knit cardigan (191331029), £37, sizes s-Xl, Wallis; indigo jeans (70115024), £25, sizes 6-22, Dorothy Perkins; gem metallic pumps, £25, sizes 3-8, Next; drop earrings, £12, Noa Noa.

PaTTErNED skirT Floral prints are all over the high street, so get ahead with a colourful skirt like this one. Team with a plain top or knit in a co-ordinating colour to keep warm but stay stylish, too. Berry ruffle shoulder knit (73217886), £45, sizes 6-22, Monsoon; floral print skirt (71206303), £40, sizes 6-22, Monsoon; pointed kitten heels (0500103532), £28, sizes 3-8, Jasper conran at Debenhams; chain mail necklace, £25, Debenhams.

YOURS

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Reclaim your

waist

D A Y

O N E

D A Y

T W O

energY boosting breAkfAsts breAkfAsts breAkfAsts breAkfAsts breA boiled egg & soldiers Porridge with stewed apple Boil an egg for six minutes, and place in an egg cup to serve. Put a little low fat spread onto two slices of wholegrain bread, then slice into soldiers. D Follow with a banana.

u

Prepare 50g (2oz) of porridge oats with 200ml (8fl oz) of semi-skimmed milk. Slice one apple and place it in a small saucepan. Add a splash of water and simmer for 3-4 minutes until softened. Stir the apple into the porridge and add a pinch of cinnamon or cloves. D Enjoy with a 200ml (8fl oz) glass of orange juice.

Light Lunches Lunches Lunches Lunches Lunches Lunch turkey and ham Potato skins with baked sandwich beans and cheese Fill a small roll with one slice of turkey and one slice of ham topped with a tablespoon of tomato relish. Add mixed salad leaves and 30g (1oz) of low-fat cheddar cheese if desired. D Follow with a mandarin.

Wash one medium-sized potato and prick all over with a fork. Microwave at a medium heat for seven minutes or until soft. Heat 220g (8oz) of baked beans in a non-stick saucepan. When cooked, scoop the potato out of the skin and fill the skins with baked beans and a little of the potato. Top with one tablespoon of low fat cheddar cheese.

sin-free suPPers suPPers suPPers suPPers suPPers suPPers suPPers s sweet and sour cod beef casserole

PICS: AlAMY; GETTY IMAGES

Heat one teaspoon of olive oil and brown 80g (3oz) of cubed lean steak, then set aside. Chop one onion, half a carrot, one stalk of celery then heat one teaspoon of olive oil over a low-medium heat. Add the vegetables along with a crushed garlic clove and fry for five minutes until softened. Add 200 ml (8fl oz) of vegetable stock mixed with a tablespoon of red wine, one tablespoon of plain flour, a small tin of tomatoes, one teaspoon each of Worcestershire sauce, dried rosemary and dried parsley along with the steak and bring to the boil. Simmer for ten minutes then add one small potato (cut into bite-sized chunks) and 50g (2oz) of sliced mushrooms. Simmer for a further 15 minutes before serving.

Dice one small fillet of cod (or other white fish) into cubes and coat in half a tablespoon of cornflour. Heat one teaspoon of olive oil and lightly fry one diced onion, one thinly sliced carrot and a sliced green pepper. Add a teaspoon of minced ginger and a crushed garlic clove and fry for another minute or so. Transfer to a dish and cover to keep warm. Fry the fish cubes until golden brown and then add the vegetables. In a separate pan, mix one 220g (8oz) tin of tomatoes, one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, one teaspoon of soy sauce and a tablespoon of water, along with another half tablespoon of cornflour. Stir well and boil, then allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the sauce over the fish and vegetables and serve with 30g (1oz) of brown rice.

sAintLY snAcks snAcks snAcks snAcks snAcks snAcks snAcks snA Yogurt with apricots Yogurt with almonds and cranberries Mix one 125g (4.5oz) pot of low-fat yogurt with one tablespoon of sliced almonds and 30g (1oz) of cranberries.

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Mix one low-fat yogurt with two sliced apricots.

sweet and sour cod

All recipes are sourced from the Yours Winter Pl

2/12/10 12:10:44


y new year diet y

D A Y

T H R E E

s breAkfAsts breAkfAsts breAkfAsts breAkfAsts breAkfAsts breAkfAsts bre Pancakes with banana Top two ready-made pancakes with one banana and two tablespoons of reduced fat crème fraîche. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

unches Lunches Lunches Lunches Lunches Lunches Lunches Lunches Lun cheese, tomato and mushroom omelette Whisk together one egg with a pinch of garlic powder and black pepper. Fry 50g (2oz) of sliced mushrooms until most of the liquid has evaporated, then add the egg and cook until it begins to set. Add 25g (1oz) of low-fat cheddar cheese and one sliced tomato, then cook until the cheese is melted. D Follow with 200ml (8fl oz) orange juice.

Pers suPPers suPPers suPPers suPPers suPPers suPPers suPPers suPPers curried salmon fishcakes Boil 100g (4oz) of potatoes until soft. Drain a 125g (4½oz) tin of salmon and mash contents with the potatoes, adding a little milk and margarine to taste. Mix in one teaspoon of curry powder, a pinch of black pepper and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Cover a grill pan with foil and brush with olive oil. Shape the mixture into three or four fishcakes and coat with a dusting of cornflour. Place under a hot grill and cook for approximately five minutes on each side until browned. D Follow with one 125g (4½oz) pot of low-fat yogurt.

snAcks snAcks snAcks snAcks snAcks snAcks snAcks snAcks snAcks Peanut butter and pear oatcakes turn the page Spread two oatcakes with a little reduced-fat peanut butter. Top with a few slices of fresh pear and drizzle with half a teaspoon of honey.

d

for days 4-7

er Plus Diet Plan. More information available at www.yoursdiets.co.uk

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2/12/10 12:11:10


Ask us anything… about fulfilling your deams IN YOUR

50s ‘We have no intention of stopping – there’s so much more to do’

Get aNNa’s looK Black and white dress and matching jacket, Coterie at Frank Usher; tights, £3.50, sizes s-xl, Marks & spencer oPeNING PaGe: Flora black shift dress (style: 75222503), £95, sizes 8-18, Monsoon

Stockists: Frank Usher www.frankusher.co.uk; Debenhams 0844 5616161; Marks & Spencer 0845 302 1234; Monsoon 0844 811 0068.

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When anna Kennedy, 50, struggled to find a suitable school for her two autistic sons, she went on to found europe’s largest educational establishment for autism. “My youngest son, Angelo, has autism and my eldest, Patrick, has Asperger syndrome – a form of autism. After looking at more than 26 schools in our area, we were faced with closed doors, schools that were more like institutions and long waiting lists – it was heartbreaking. “Eventually, my husband Sean and I decided that the only way to get our children the education they needed would be to start our own school from scratch. We took a crash course in education and found a derelict building that could make the perfect school. With an army of volunteers and donations from local companies, we transformed the building into a fully functioning school. “Hillingdon Manor School opened in 1999, providing specialist education for children with autistic spectrum disorders. Last October we extended and can now take about 150 primary and secondary age children. Esther Rantzen is a patron of both Hillingdon and the newly opened Baston House School. “Opening the school has not only benefited my sons, but hundreds of other children too. Next we want to open a home for adults with autism. We have no intention of stopping – there’s so much more to do.” D anna has won the Daily Mail’s Inspirational Woman of the Year 2010 award. aNNa’s toP tIP Don’t be afraid to stand-up for what you believe in – our children had us to fight for them.

EVERY FORTNIGHT

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know?

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can make the biggest changes” Anon

IN YOUR

Sharon Eden fulfilled her dream of becoming an author, at 62. “Over the past few years I’ve dreamt of writing. I had an idea for a book that would help people to live life purposefully and passionately. I used a writing coach, who spurred me on to complete the first draft of my book within three months! “I had a target of writing for ten hours every week but, because I’m still working, achieving this was sometimes tricky. Then I’d have a creative burst and could write 1,000 words in an hour. “Showing the first draft to friends and family was terrifying, but fantastic at the same time!

60s

I gave it to people who I trusted to be honest without being too critical. After two further edits ‘Whack Around The Head’ was ready. The book, which is due to be released this January, is perfect for those going through tough life changes such as retirement or bereavement. “Creating the book was an amazing journey and I’m tremendously proud of it. I’d encourage anyone who’s always yearned to put pen to paper to go for it.”

GET ShAron’S look white diamante jacket (style: T625281E), £69.50, Per Una at Marks & Spencer; black top, £29.99, sizes 8-24, Marks & Spencer

ShAron’S ToP TIP To avoid writers’ block, map out each chapter. I didn’t always stick to the plan, but I always had something to write about.

IN YOUR

70s & BEYONd

GET JAnET’S look Paisley top, £69.99, sizes 8-18, Monsoon; chocolate brown trousers, £22.50, sizes 10-22, Debenhams Classics oPEnInG PAGE: Print blouse (style: 72219803), £65, sizes 8-18, Monsoon

Janet Masters started swimming again in her 50s. Aged 70, she set her sights on the world Championships. “I’ve always loved swimming and swam competitively as a teenager. In my 50s I decided to get back into it – just as a way of keeping fit – but my son, Peter, encouraged me to enter competitions again. Last August, aged 70, I planned to compete in the World Masters Championships in Sweden (the 7074 year old age group). “Preparations were under way when disaster struck – I slipped and fractured my knee, just nine weeks before the event. I couldn’t even get in or out of the pool unaided. My coach encouraged me to try physiotherapy and following treatment I recovered well. “At the event an official had to help me onto the starting block and I found the turns difficult, so it was

oPEnInG PAGE: Print jersey dress (style: 0280103639), £35, sizes10-22, Collection at Debenhams

a complete surprise when I came away with four medals. It was my proudest achievement so far. “My husband Mick, daughter Julie and granddaughter Beth, were with me at the event and when we got home my grandsons had put up ‘welcome home’ banners and balloons – I was overjoyed (and mortified by all the fuss!). “Now my knee has fully recovered my swimming times have improved. At the recent National Masters Championships I brought home seven gold medals! “After my fall I thought I’d have to retire from swimming, but now I plan to enter the World Masters Championship in 2012.” JAnET’S ToP TIP Swimming is great for overall health and fitness and is so much fun – you’re certainly not over the hill at 70!

Turn the page for Your Problems Solved YOURS

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PHOTOGRaPHY RUTH JENkINSON; HaIR aNd makE-UP OlIVIa FERRER aNd HaNaN TOUHamI; STYlING BERNaRd CONNOllY

Did you

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y puzzles & prizes y ost your Bo

brain power

The big

ear Y New quiz well do As we welcome in 2011, how 2010? you remember the events of

January

March

May

Heavy snow resulted in 30 New Year revellers getting snowed in at The Tan Hill Inn, North Yorks. For how many days? ● a 10 days ● b 6 days ● c 3 days

5

An Icelandic volcano, dormant for 200 years, erupted causing air traffic chaos for several weeks. What was it called? ● a Jeyejöjallakull ● b Eyjafjallajökull ● c Jökullfjordeye

9

1

The UK entry in the Eurovision Which team won the Oxford v Song Contest was That Sounds Cambridge boat race? Good To Me, sung by young Josh ● a London Dobovie. How many points did ● b Oxford it win? ● c Cambridge Josh sang for ● a 100 Europe, but ● b 10 how many ●c0 points did The Deepwater Horizon he get? oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. How Which country many barrels of oil were won the most estimated to have leaked Gold medals in into the sea before the flow the 2010 Winter was stemmed? Olympics? ● a 100,000 barrels ● a United States ● b 4.9 million barrels ● b Sweden ● c 1.2 million barrels ● c Canada Furious Naomi Campbell Who won best male actor in stormed out of an interview last year’s BAFTAs? after it was alleged she had ● a Jeremy Renner – The Hurt received what? Locker ● a Blood diamonds ● b Alfred Molina – An Education ● b A stolen gold ingot ● c Colin Firth – A Single Man ● c Suitcase of laundered cash

2

6

April

7

February

With a ‘hung parliament’ in the General Election, David Cameron formed a Conservative coalition with the Lib Dems. Where did party leaders ‘Nick and Dave’ hold their first official press conference? ● a The Honeysuckle Garden ● b The Cherry Blossom Garden ● c The Rose Garden

What percentage of votes did the Liberal Democrats win in the General Election? ● a 27 per cent ● b 42 per cent ● c 36 per cent

10

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3

8

4 108

Whos w

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y puzzles & prizes y Liverpool FC was bought by the owners of which American sports team? ● a The new York Yankees ● b The Boston Red Sox ● c The dallas Cowboys

20

June The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at the Universal Magic at the Harry Orlando Resort in Florida. Potter theme park Highlights include: ● a A ride on The Hogwart’s Which two countries Express competed in the final of the ● b Wizard’s Chess World Cup in South Africa? ● c Wizard duelling workshop with ● a Germany vs Argentina professor Snape ● b Spain vs netherlands ● c Brazil vs italy

11

14

August How long were 33 Chilean miners trapped underground when the San José mine collapsed? ● a 43 days ● b 37 days ● c 69 days

15

November Despite unprecedented budget cuts, how much did the British Government controversially pledge to help bail out Ireland? ● a £2 billion ● b £10 billion ● c £7 billion

21

Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement, but where were they when Wills popped the question? ● a Kenya ● b Wales ● c Canada

22

The final episode of Last of the Summer Wine was broadcast by the BBC. But, how many years had it been going? ● a 37 years ● b 50 years ● c 20 years

16

September

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut broke all records for the length of their match at the Wimbledon tennis tournament. How long was it? ● a 8 hours ● b 6 hours ● c 11 hours

12

Whose daughter wed in New York?

July Which former US president celebrated his daughter’s wedding at a lavish ceremony in New York? ● a George W Bush ● b Bill Clinton ● c George Bush Snr

13

Which was the first city to host Pope Benedict XVI during the official state visit? ● a Edinburgh ● b London ● c Glasgow

17

In which country did millions of workers strike in protest against the president’s plans to reform the pensions system? ● a United States ● b France ● c Russia

18

October In the film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Michael Douglas reprised his role as a greedy banker. What is the character’s name? ● a Gordon Gekko ● a Larry Lizard ● a duncan dragon

19

December Coronation Street marked its 50th anniversary with a dramatic live episode, but on which day of the week was the first ever episode broadcast? ● a Friday ● b Wednesday ● c Monday

23

Who was crowned winner of this year’s X Factor? ● a One direction ● b Matt Cardle ● c Rebecca Ferguson

24

CHECK YOUR AnSWERS BELOW 1 c, 2 b, 3 c, 4 c, 5 b, 6 c, 7 b, 8 a, 9 c, 10 a, 11 a, 12 c, 13 b, 14 b, 15 c, 16 a, 17 a, 18 b, 19 a, 20 b, 21 c, 22 a, 23 a, 24 b

2010 marked the last of The Last...

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17/12/10 15:30:09


y knit for Bliss y

By Claire Williams

THaNk YOU

hen we asked Yours readers to help knit clothes for premature babies we expected a good response, as we know what a generous lot you are, but we were utterly overwhelmed with the thousands of beautifullyknitted garments Bliss received. Our target was to reach 7,000 knitted items by Christmas but, after we sent out thousands of patterns to eager readers, Bliss received a whopping 20,000 items! As you can imagine, Bliss was thrilled with all your hard work, as Julia Billington, individual giving manager, explains: “When we started the campaign, we thought it was hugely ambitious to expect 7,000 knitted and

W from Bliss! sewn items. When the sacks full of your donations began arriving at our offices, we couldn’t believe it! We received over 20,000 items altogether, which is amazing. “Thank you so much to all of you for the time and effort you have put into making sure babies born early, or sick, and needing special care over the Christmas period, received the clothes they need. We know that their parents loved seeing their babies dressed in clothes, which had been specially made for them. Many families will treasure these tiny

clothes over the years when they remember their baby’s first few days and weeks. Yours readers have made a real difference for families right across the UK.” Bliss estimates that the 20,000 items received represent tens of thousands of balls of wool. And, if an hour was taken to knit each item, this equates to more than 800 days of solid work! So pat yourselves on the back, you did a wonderful job and here at Yours we couldn’t be prouder of our extremely talented and hugely generous readers.

‘A big thank you for the knitted items you donated’ Toni Barnes, staff member at Fairfield Hospital

‘Thank you for the baby items sent to our neonatal unit. We know how much work goes into making them. Please thank your supporters who made them all’ Diane Hopewell, ward clerk at Calderdale Royal Hospital neonatal unit 14

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PICS: jaCqUES PORTal/YOURS; REx FEaTURES aNd GETTY ImaGES

Thanks to the generosity of Yours readers, premature babies all over the Uk will have been kept lovely and warm this Christmas…

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