Students at an academy have been busy creating hats to help improve care in a maternity ward.

Pupils from New Rickstones Academy, Witham, used their craft and textile skills to create the red hats, which will now be used to identify babies in need of extra care at Broomfield Hospital.

Mid Essex Hospitals Trust appealed to the public to help create the hats and so far has received an overwhelming response.

The red hat appeal has been closed until further notice, however hats of other colours and knitted blankets are always welcomed.

On Monday, Charlotte Jefcoate, fundraising coordinator for the hospital, visited the school to speak to year seven and eight pupils about how their donation will help families.

Damian Lee, headteacher of New Rickstones Academy, thanked the maternity unit for its personal support during the birth of his two children and promised to work alongside the hospital's charity on future projects.

Yvonne Carter, charities manager, said: "We are enormously grateful to the students at Rickstones Academy for such a fantastic selection of hats for newborn babies at our hospital.

“It was a lovely addition to see that the pupils had included little notes with coloured drawings too. We look forward to continuing to work with Rickstones."

For more information about the initiative, visit