Baby born at 25 weeks in Cyprus doing 'better than ever' after return to Devon

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A baby who was born at 25 weeks while her family were on holiday in Cyprus is back in Devon and doing better than her family had ever hoped.

Molly Cleathero was born 16 weeks early at the end of June and spent three weeks being treated at a hospital in Cyprus.

But her parents, Bethany and Jan Cleathero, had to fight to get the correct travel documentation to fly their baby home.

They also faced raising £46,000 to pay for a private jet with medical staff and an intensive care unit on board.

With help from the Lucy Air Ambulance for Children charity, Molly touched down at Exeter Airport in July and has been receiving 24-hour treatment at Derriford Hospital ever since.

Bethany said: "Molly is doing really really well. Since arriving back in the UK she's received amazing care and she is jumping from strength to strength. To the point where the nurses and consultants said they're really pleased and surprised with her progress."

The family are now using their experiences to call for change.

Bethany said: "The whole system needs to change. I understand that having pre-term babies abroad isn't your everyday scenario, it does happen a lot.

"You can't insure an unborn baby, but there are some insurance companies that will fly your baby home but they must be full-term. For me and Molly, this would have required us to wait until October."

The entire experience has affected the family in different ways. Molly's dad Jan Cleathero has said that he has found it hard to bond with his daughter as he hasn't been able to hold her.

"I still haven't held Molly yet because I'm struggling to bond with her, not because I don't want to, it's just difficult," Jan said.

Jan and Bethany were separated for much of the beginning of Molly's life, as he had to return to the UK to care for their other children while Bethany stayed in Cyprus.

"The first few weeks were so so difficult," he said.

"Not being able to see her was so hard. Taking the kids to school every day, coming back doing tea, bath and bed and having Bella ask me every day, hows Molly? Hows mummy?

Molly's sisters Phoebe and Bella visiting her in hospital Credit: Bethany Cleathero

"Having to tell her every day she's okay and not knowing in myself was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do."

The family are looking for help to raise a further £10,000 to pay back the charity that helped fly Molly home to the UK.