A BEREAVED grandfather has told of the devastation of tragically losing his baby grand-daughter to a heart condition.

Derek Russell, who has five grandchildren and a great grandson, lost little Lillian Florence in 2004 of rare heart problem hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

And the 67-year-old, from Clitheroe, has spoken of how his daughter Amelia Russell was faced with the difficult decision of whether to have her baby terminated.

After deciding that she would go through the birth, Amelia lost Lillian at just six days old at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

The family had been told by doctors that she would have to be born at the hospital to have a potentially life-saving operation, but Lillian never got the chance.

Mr Russell, who has three children, has used his grief as a lever to raise money and thank Alder Hey Hospital for the care his grand-daughter was given in her short life.

In the years since her death, he has raised over £35,000 while his wife, Sharon, and daughter have also raised above £15,000 towards the hospital site.

His latest challenge will see him trek to Africa’s highest mountain Kilimanjaro with his friend Wayne Ellison to raise money for Alder Hey.

Mr Russell, a retired financial adviser, said: “Amelia was informed of Lillian’s heart condition months before her birth.

“She was given the difficult choice of whether to have a termination or not as doctors said that Lillian could have an operation which would be high-risk and which would be no guarantee of survival," he added.

“But Amelia decided that she would go ahead with the birth as she believed in giving Lillian a chance to fight for her life and survive, and that life is precious.

“It was devastating but we’ve tried to turn it into a positive by raising money as the staff at Alder Hey were brilliant and did everything they could.”

Since Lillian’s death, fundraising events organised by Mr Russell include the concert Hey Clitheroe, a night of music and entertainment, which has raised £17,500 and has run for three years.

Mr Russell and Mr Ellison, who is from Gisburn, will take on the seven-day trek up the 5,895 metres high Mount Kilimanjaro on October 6.

Mr Ellison, 52, said: “We’re looking forward to the challenge and can’t thank Alder Hey staff enough.”

To donate money to the pair, visit their fundraising page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wayne-ellison4?utm_id=26.