From the heart.. Paignton family raise funds and awareness

William 2 featured
(Last Updated On: March 22, 2015)

A Paignton family are raising awareness after their son was born with a congenital heart condition.

Baby William Philip Skingle, born on 11th February 2015, is just 5 weeks old. His parents are not only adjusting to life with a new baby, they are also raising awareness and funds to help others.

Phil and Debbie Skingle with William

Phil and Debbie Skingle with William

Williams dad Philip told us more:
“After a difficult start to the pregnancy we were both very excited to attend our 20 week scan at Torbay Hospital. All seemed well and we were told we were having a boy, and then things changed. The nurses swapped over and a consultant came in to give advice.

“We were told our baby had a serious heart defect and we would have an emergency referral to Bristol Childrens Hospital. I remember us sat in a quiet room crying out of control and not knowing what was going to happen. We were given an appointment at BCH the following day. On arrival we met a specialist Paediatric Cardiac Consultant who did an Echocardiogram. The consultant took us in a side room with a liaison nurse and gave us the diagnosis.

“Our boy had a rare extremely serious heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Its a defect which means the left of his heart is formed properly, meaning only the right hand side of his heart worked. This condition is only palliative and one day our boy would end up on the heart transplant list. He would need at least 3 open heart surgeries to allow his blood to be circulated. He was given a 50% chance of survival of the 1st operation.

“We tried to carry on with our lives the best we could having 4 weekly appointments in Bristol. It was decided my wife Debbie would be induced at 38 weeks as they couldn’t risk our baby being born away from hospital. At our 36 week appointment at Bristol it was decided due to an illness with the specialist surgeon that our boy would have to be born in London and have his 1st surgery there.

“Three weeks later, William Philip Skingle was born at St Thomas Hospital London and immediately transferred into Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and awaited his essential operation whilst being kept alive by drugs. At 5 days old William was put to sleep in his daddys arms and passed to surgeon Prof David Anderson who conducted an 8 hour open heart surgery on him including the use of a bypass machine.

Baby William in hospital

Baby William in hospital

“Whilst this was happening, the community of Paignton Town pulled together and started donating prizes into our shop Torbay Family Butchers in Parkside. We had a huge range of prizes from local shops who wanted to help raise money. We raffled it off and made nearly £300 for heart support families and the children’s hospital. William is now home and doing well, awaiting his next open heart surgery in July/August time. He now has been given a 60% chance of survival to his 5th birthday.

“We would like to thank everyone from the bottoms of our heart. We have been completely overwhelmed and thank you all sincerely”

William is due to have an MRI scan at Evelina Childrens Hospital London next month which will be used to plan his next open heart surgery.

William is now at home

William is now at home

To find out more about Hypoplastic left heart syndrome go to:

Heart Families South West is a support network for families of children with Congenital Heart Defects & other heart conditions. You can find out more on their website: and on Facebook:




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