Father and son run Christmas Cracker for the ‘apple of our eye’


Two elves battled the wintry elements to raise hundreds of pounds for a hospital which took ‘brilliant’ care of their newest family member.


Mark Cooke and his son Joshua took part in the 10km Christmas Cracker, dressed as Santa’s helpers, to raise money for Musgrove Park Hospital after they cared for their grandson and nephew, Adam Jolles.

Mark’s daughter Emma Jolles, aged 25, and her husband Grant, aged 26, were expecting their first baby on November 8.

But when Emma was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia – a pregnancy complication including a high blood pressure and damage to the organ system – she was rushed to Bristol to have Adam eight weeks premature.

He was born on September 10 weighing just 2lbs 6oz before losing more weight and going below 2lbs.

Adam Jolles in Musgrove's ICU after his birth. Picture: Mark Cooke

Adam Jolles in Musgrove's ICU after his birth. Picture: Mark Cooke - Credit: Mark Cooke

Mark, aged 49, said: “We had been through all sorts with Emma’s pregnancy. It was thought he had a congenital defect and he was not going to survive – Emma was in and out of hospital regularly for tests.

“We were thinking of the worst but hoping for the best.”

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It was then found Adam had just one vein in his umbilical cord which was why he was so small.

He was transferred to the Taunton hospital to continue his care.


Mark, who lives in Locking, added: “Adam was in Musgrove for eight weeks and they took excellent care of him.

“Towards the end of his time there he developed a double hernia, which is apparently common in premature babies, and he was taken back to Bristol for two surgeries where he was then released.

“It was a very traumatic time for us all but he is the apple of our eye.”

Mark and Joshua, aged 21, ran the Cracker for the fifth time this year on December 9 and always donate the money to an important family cause.

Mark said there was ‘no question’ of the pair running for the hospital who took such good care of his first grandchild.

The pair completed the run and raised more than £740 with some money still coming in.

Mark added: “It was brilliant and this is the most money we have ever raised. We will be presenting the money to Musgrove’s South West Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the new year.”

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-cooke9