Mum ‘overwhelmed’ by kindness of stranger after being granted free rail fare to visit baby daughter at Sheffield Children’s Hospital

A mum-of-seven who travels from Retford daily to visit her baby daughter at Sheffield Children's Hospital said she is ‘overwhelmed’ after being granted free rail fare by Northern Rail thanks to the kindness of a stranger.

By Alana Roberts
Saturday, 9th March 2019, 2:13 pm
Updated Saturday, 9th March 2019, 2:23 pm
Ocean (left) with her twin brother Odin (Right)
Ocean (left) with her twin brother Odin (Right)

Rachel Broadway, aged 41, from Retford, visits Sheffield Children’s Hospital around five times a week to visit her four month old daughter Ocean who was born prematurely at 28 weeks along with her twin brother Odin.

Following the birth Odin was allowed home, but Ocean had to be transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital from Jessops after she contracted Necrotizing entercolitis (NEC), a medical condition in which a portion of the bowel dies.

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Since then the infant has had three operations – one to cut away part of her small bowel, another to fit a colostomy bag and a third to reverse that operation – and is looking at a further six-month stay in the children’s hospital. 

Through all this Rachel, who has six other children at home, has continued to make the regular journey to Sheffield with her newborn son Odin to visit his sister.

While on the train last Tuesday, March 5, she began a conversation with a conductor called ‘Emma’ who, having noticed Rachel regularly on the train, asked why she had been travelling so frequently with a now four-month-old baby. 

However, thinking nothing of the conversation, two days later Rachel boarded the train again when she was met by another conductor who had been told by Emma to look out for her.

Rachel said: “It was a male ticket operator and he said that Emma had told him to look out for me as she couldn’t stop thinking about the conversation we had and my situation and wanted to help in some way.

“He said she would like a word on the phone, so I rang her and she asked for my name and address. She said ‘I’ve asked my manager to grant you free train journeys to see your daughter until she comes out of hospital’, I couldn’t believe it, it took a massive weight off my shoulders.

“I posted on Facebook as I thought I may never see her again as they always do different shifts on the train.”

In the post Rachel described Emma as ‘one in a million’ and said she was in tears of gratitude over her act of kindness.

Rachel believes the post has now reached Northern Rail, who said they will pass the message on to Emma the conductor. 

She is now awaiting a letter from Northern Rail confirming her free rail travel.