From tiny twins a mighty charity grew

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The Independent Online

They were two of thousands of babies born prematurely last year. Yet the story of the twins who weighed less than a bag of sugar each has inspired global interest and launched a multi-million pound fundraising appeal.

Martin Holdcroft started an online diary, also known as a weblog, when his sons Edmund and Aubrey were born on 2 December last year 15 weeks early and weighing just 800 grams (1.8 pounds) each

Mr Holdcroft, from Ramsgate, Kent, kept family and friends updated during the "terrifying" time the twins spent in intensive care. The progress of their mother, Julie, also featured in the regular updates. Since then, thousands of people around the world have followed their progress on the weblog, where they have been nicknamed "The Viking" and "King of the Elves".

Mr Holdcroft wrote movingly about the highs and lows of their stay in intensive care and how they battled to survive. For the Holdcrofts - and the hundreds of thousands of fans who have followed their progress - the best entry in the weblog came in May this year when they were both allowed to leave hospital. The family started campaigning for funding into the research of premature births earlier this year when they joined Action Medical Research's Touching Tiny Lives Campaign. The campaign is trying to raise £3m For more details visit www.action.org.uk/twins.

Mr Holdcroft said: "We started the blog so that our family and friends could keep track of their progress and it seems that their popularity has just grown and grown. Hundreds of millions are spent each year on special care, yet only a few million on preventing babies from needing it. It seems crazy to me."

A spokesman for Action Medical Research, said: "They have to be the UK's tiniest charity volunteers. We are one of the biggest charity fundraisers in this area, but it really does need a higher priority... too many babies are suffering and we believe that it could be prevented."

Each year in the UK, 3,000 babies die before they reach 12 months.

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