Family speaks of 'mind-blowing' support as premature baby born in Cyprus now back in UK

Baby Molly Cleathero
Baby Molly was born at just 25 weeks in a hospital in Cyprus

The family of a baby who was flown back to the UK after being born 16 weeks early in Cyprus has said the support they've received has been "mind-blowing".

Bethany and Jan Cleathero's daughter Molly was born at 25 weeks while the family were on holiday in Cyprus at the end of June.

The couple, who are from North Tawton in Devon, had just an hour a day to visit their newborn daughter, who was in hospital an hour away from where they were staying.

Molly was finally flown home to Exeter Airport on Tuesday evening (19 July) in a specially-adapted air ambulance which had its own intensive care incubator.

  • Watch the emotional moment baby Molly landed in Exeter Airport

Baby Molly's auntie, Megan Harris, told ITV News West Country that waiting for Molly to land safely was emotional.

"It's been a stressful time, just emotionally, really stressful," she said. "It's being helpless because there's nothing we can really do here.

"It was a hard day yesterday not knowing if Molly was going to cope with the journey, changing from one incubator to another.

  • Watch Molly's auntie, Megan Harris on the emotional moment her niece landed

"I was texting Beth all day like 'let me know, let me know', and then at 3.30pm I got the text that they'd taken off."

Charity Lucy Air Ambulance supported the family with donations, translating papers, and organising the complicated air ambulance transfer back to the UK.

Charlotte Young, CEO of the charity, said the whole team was celebrating when they saw Molly had landed.

“We’ve all worked so hard to get to this point", she said.

Molly in an incubator Credit: Bethany Cleathero

"As a charity we get connected to all of our families, every child that we fly we know their story, we stay in touch with them, we know about the siblings and what they like doing", she added.

After being faced with neo-natal hospital treatment medical bills of about 1,000 euros (£860) a day, as well the cost of getting Molly home using a mobile neonatal intensive care unit, the family set up a fundraiser.

In total they have raised more than £28,000, and Megan says it's been people's generosity that's kept the family going.

"When we started I just didn't even think we'd get £10,000, I just didn't think it would do as well as it is", she said.

"People are so generous and it's not even just the big donations, it's everything.

"The kind messages we've been inundated with, people wanting to help the family. It really is mind-blowing."

Baby Molly in the back of an ambulance

Molly is now being looked after in a neo-natal intensive care unit in Plymouth where, her auntie says, she's in a stable condition.

"Today they've taken out her chest strain, which I believe means that now Beth probably will be able to hold her for the first time," she said.

"They've got a meeting with the consultation to discuss Molly's bloods to see how she's going.

"As far as we know she's doing really well but time will tell if there's going to be any sort of difficulties that they might face.

"But so far she's defied all the odds and is doing really well."