A DUNFERMLINE football star and his fiancée, who were put through “hell” following the early arrival of their baby daughter, are raising funds for other premature babies and their families.

Joe Cardle and Lucy-Anne Patterson spent many hours at the Special Care Baby Unit in Kirkcaldy when their daughter Lyla Jo arrived eight weeks early, weighing just 3lbs 6oz last summer.

After going through the trauma of not being able to take their new-born baby home while she received specialist care, the couple have decided to raise £5,000 to go towards fitting and maintaining baby cams in premature baby incubators.

The cameras will provide a live link, comfort and reassurance to parents who leave their children in hospital.

Joe told the Press: “We wanted to give back as much as possible after we realised what the unit had done for Lyla Jo.

“Coming home and leaving our daughter was heart-breaking, so we thought having these cams would have given us some ease.

“I was still working full-time with football, so I still needed to sleep.

“It was an experience and something you don’t understand until you live it.

“It was very upsetting, you feel helpless and anything we can do to try make the experience two per cent better for parents will be great.

“You just want to hug your little baby and it was only until after Lyla Jo came home that we realised we went through hell.

“We are so grateful that we have come out on top and we have a healthy baby now and we can’t thank the department enough.”

Lyla Jo spent 21 days in the Special Care Baby Unit in Kirkcaldy.

Lucy-Anne added: “It broke my heart to see my baby taken away as soon as she was born, and then to wait what seemed a lifetime before I could meet her.

“What really crushed me was when I was finally taken to the intensive care room to see her, I didn’t even know which baby was mine.

“During the 21 days she stayed in hospital, I felt like I wasn’t her mother, as I had no idea what I was doing and felt like I was constantly asking nurses for help and advice.

“Lyla Jo, my precious little miracle, is now 20 weeks, 11lbs and 4ozs and thriving.

“I am so grateful to the medical team in Kirkcaldy for everything they did for her. They saved her life.

“Joe and I are trying to raise as much money as we can so we can purchase cameras for each incubator in the Kirkcaldy hospital. This will make parents’ journeys a little easier as they will be able to watch their baby 24/7 through an app on their phones.

“You can’t put a price on what the medical team do for each and every premature baby but to be able to give something back that will benefit other parents is something we aim to do.”

You can support Joe and Lucy by donating at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lucy-anne-patterson-1?utm_id=63