Shrewsbury couple raise funds for fertility centre to offer thanks

By Lisa O'Brien | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

A couple are raising funds for a fertility centre in Shrewsbury after it helped make their dreams come true.

Clare Soltysiak, fertility development co-ordinator; Victoria Gittins, embryologist; Rosalind Grainger, fertility nurse with Mark and Annie Hambley, and Bodhi

Annie and Mark Hambley will celebrate the first birthday of their son Bodhi on Saturday.

But for them, it will be no ordinary first birthday party.

It will be a day when they take time to stop and thank the many people who helped to bring Bodhi into the world.

After months of trying for a baby, Annie was diagnosed with unexplained infertility.

It was then the couple, from Shrewsbury, turned to the Shropshire and Mid Wales Fertility Centre, which is run by The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

After two rounds of IVF at the centre, their son Bodhi River was born at 12.08am on February 24 last year.

To thank the staff who made their dream come true, Mark and Annie are using Bodhi’s first birthday to fundraise for the fertility centre via a JustGiving page at

The couple are also planning a fundraising event at Button and Bear bookshop in Shrewsbury on March 8 and 9 to raise money for the centre and PANDAS, a charity supporting families suffering from antenatal and postnatal mental illnesses.


Annie and Mark returned to the centre, at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, recently to meet and thank staff.

Annie described it as “the place where magic really does come true – far better than Disneyland”.

She said: “On February 24 our miracle baby will be one-year-old, a day that over three years ago, having been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, we could only dream and hope would come true.

“But here we are thanks to the kind, caring, supportive, knowledgeable and just simply awesome fertility unit at SaTH, who saw us through the toughest and most joyful time of our lives and made all our dreams possible.


“There are no words to thank them and nothing we could possibly do to repay them for the amount of love they have given us in our perfect little Bodhi.

“They are the most wonderful people and they help give so many the most precious gift in the world – life.

“One in seven couples have problems conceiving and although you feel like you are the only person going through it, you’re not and we were shocked and surprised at how many people SaTH’s fertility unit helps every year.

“We understand that there are many parts of the NHS that need funds, now more than ever, and how many illnesses need to be treated and cured. However we have decided that to celebrate our baby’s birthday and the gift of life we were given we would like to fundraise for the fertility unit.

“Our little cub trusts mummy and daddy’s decision that the best birthday present you could give him would be to donate to the unit, without which he wouldn’t have a birth day.”

Claire Corfield, quality manager at Shropshire and Mid Wales Fertility Centre, said: “It was lovely to meet Annie, Mark and, of course, Bodhi when they came to see us this week and we can’t thank them enough for thinking of us at this very precious time for their family.”

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.


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