Born in 1983, ‘Tiny Lives’ was the brain child of Dr Hans Steiner, a paediatrician who with Dr Edmund Hey took care of babies at the the Neonatal Unit in the Princess Mary Maternity Hospital. ‘Tiny Lives’ became the name for the fund relating to babies at the Princess Mary. The Neonatal Unit at Newcastle General Hospital had its own fund (the NGH Special Care Fund).
Dr Steiner (now retired) launched the appeal with a daring parachute jump, and our first charity runners took part in the Great North Run. During these early years, most of the money came from donations rather than active fundraising (although the unit did benefit from the Blue Peter “babylife” appeal in 1989, which sponsored an ultrasound machine and a 3 year educational nurse post).
In 1993, the Neonatal Units at the Princess Mary Maternity Hospital and Newcastle General Hospital merged into a new unit, based at the RVI. Because each of the two units had been raising money for their own charitable funds, when the two units joined forces, the charitable funds were combined too. Until this time, Tiny Lives had been held by the Special Trustees of the Newcastle Hospitals but when the new combined fund was created (still called Tiny Lives), its management was moved to the Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.
By 2012, the Tiny Lives Fund had developed to the point where it needed to become a charity in its own right, rather than simply a charitable fund. In early 2013 under the name “The Tiny Lives Trust”, Tiny Lives was succesfully registered at both Companies House and the Charities Commission to begin its life as an independent charity.
As of 2020, the charity supports over 750 babies and their families annually, and aims to raise £350,000 a year to maintain this support.
Say hello to the people behind Tiny Lives
Community Events Fundraiser
Fundraising & Comms Assistant
Projects Development Officer
Head of Tiny Lives
Nearly New Sales Coordinator
Jonny Wilkinson made his name as one of the shining lights of English rugby union and is widely regarded as one of the greatest to have played the sport. He spent 12 seasons at Newcastle Falcons and became a patron of Tiny Lives in 2015, after supporting the charity for many years.
Jonny Wilkinson CBE
Tiny Lives Patron
Sophie is a Nurse on the RVI Neonatal Unit. It was a long-held career dream for her, as she spent time on the Unit as a baby after being born at just 24 weeks gestation.
Tiny Lives Ambassador
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