Our late beautiful daughter, Emily May Ridgwell, was born in January 2015 but fell ill suddenly and sadly died six weeks later. Emily donated her heart valves and amazingly these have since been used in two successful transplant operations, one for a seven-month-old girl and another for a one-month old girl. It means a great deal to us that she has been able to help two little girls whose families will have been going through a difficult journey. Due to a national shortage of heart valve donations (particularly for children), we have consequently been working very closely with the NHS Blood & Transplant (NHSBT) team to help raise awareness. Emily’s donation was consequently covered by Sky News. You can read the article here and watch the video here.

We spent the last ten days of Emily’s all too short life at Martin House Children’s Hospice in Boston Spa, Wetherby. The care all three of us received there was amazing and allowed us as parents to spend quality time with Emily that we could not have had at the hospital. Martin House provides care and support to children with life limiting conditions and their families. The hospice relies almost entirely on donations and fundraising to provide this service.

In honour of Emily and her achievements, and in order to do our bit to ensure Martin House can continue to provide their unique and special care, we held ‘Emily’s Ball 2016’ at York Racecourse on 30th January 2016, on what would have been Emily’s first birthday. We raised over £12,000 for Martin House on the night and buoyed by the success we announced that we would subsequently be holding the event every two years for the foreseeable future. ‘Emily’s Ball 2018’, ‘Emily’s Ball 2020’ and ‘Emily’s Ball 2022’ consequently raised another £14,500, £28,600 and £25,600 respectively for Martin House. The ‘Emily’s Ball 2020’ total included fundraising from the Danny Willett Caddying Experience, more information on this can be found here. The eagerly anticipated ‘Emily’s Ball 2024’ will be held on 27th January 2024 and further details on this event can be found here.

Our story was covered in the York Press and can be read here.