A HAMPSHIRE hospital is to be the first in the country to have its own nursery teacher.

Southampton Children’s Hospital, part of the general hospital, is to have a hospital-based teacher thanks to the efforts of a charity set up by a Hampshire family in memory of their daughter.

The Piggles Trust was set up by Caroline and Edward Martin after their four-year-old daughter Harriet, who was a cardiac patient at Southampton Children’s Hospital, died suddenly from an infection last year.

Now, after only a few months of fundraising, the charity is to recruit a nursery teacher.

Caroline, 37, said: “When Harriet was a patient, it became clear that, although the medical care and treatment was absolutely excellent, the educational needs of children under the age of five were not being met – this meant that the most unwell children were missing out.

“Education plays a huge role in terms of stability and normality for both children and their families during distressing times and, with a nursery teacher, young patients will have the opportunity to continue following the early years syllabus. We’d like to thank all our supporters for helping us reach this first important milestone.”

The charity was set up with the support of Southampton Hospital Charity, and the project will be delivered through a dedicated Southampton Children’s Hospital charity fund.

Dr Peter Wilson, divisional clinical director for women, children and support services at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a fantastic initiative and we are extremely privileged to become the first hospital trust in the country to benefit.

“We would like to express our thanks to Caroline and Edward for the work they have done to establish Piggles Trust.”