'Lacey's army' from Great Offley will be tackling a Rainbow Run to raise funds for the neonatal unit at Stevenage's Lister Hospital.

Lacey, who is now four-years-old, was born prematurely and looked after by the unit for three weeks until she was well enough to go home.

Together with her family - mum Hannah, dad Nick, and five-year-old brother Freddie - Lacey will be taking on the Rainbow Run at Ridlins Athletics Stadium in Stevenage on Sunday, 25 June.

They will be raising money that can be put towards a £60,000 refurbishment of the neonatal unit.

Hannah, Lacey’s mum, said: “It was such a worrying time when Lacey arrived early. She was so small and needed help breathing but the team looked after her, and us, so well.

"They were fantastic. We couldn’t have wished for better care.

“We are doing the Rainbow Run as a family because we want to thank the neonatal unit and to raise funds to refurbish the parents’ bedrooms on the unit. We used a room when Lacey was there.

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"We were so grateful to have that space but the rooms desperately need updating. We want to help make them cosy and welcoming for families going through what we went through.”

The Rainbow Run, organised by East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals’ Charity, encourages runners of all capabilities to take part in its 2.5k, 5k and 10k routes.

Participants are invited to dedicate their run to someone – a loved one, new arrival, doctor, nurse or hospital department that gave exceptional care.

Beth McNeil, head of fundraising for the charity, said: “We are delighted that families like Lacey’s are joining us for the Rainbow Run to thank our wonderful NHS staff.

“It is going to be such a fun day for everyone: from the serious runners to families with toddlers, there will be something for everyone.

"We also have quite a few members of staff taking part and they usually enjoy dressing up so we can expect to see some colourful costumes!

“We still have a few places left so it’s not too late to sign up for a great day out supporting your local hospitals.”

You can register for the Rainbow Run at www.enhhcharity.org.uk/rainbow, and Lacey's army can be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/LaceysArmy