Call the midwife! Helen is in the spotlight at 30th anniversary celebration
Published on: 03 Dec 2015
DOWNEND’S Olympic medallist Jenny Jones was there – but it was her mum Helen who took centre stage when Southmead Hospital’s maternity department celebrated the 30th anniversary of its central delivery suite.
Midwife Helen, 66, from Bromley Heath, trained at Southmead, qualifying in 1972, and still works shifts for North Bristol NHS Trust at Southmead and Cossham.
She had all three of her children – Sam, David and Jenny – at the hospital before the opening of the CDS in the autumn of 1986 and continued to work there until 1992, returning in 2009.
Helen, the hospital’s longest-serving midwife, also delivered her grandson Elliot – Jenny’s nephew — at Southmead almost two years ago, a few months before she and her husband Pete saw snowboarder Jenny take bronze in the 2014 Games in Sochi.
She said she continues to work at the CDS because the “midwifery team is amazing”.
Jenny said: “It was lovely to help celebrate 30 years of the Central Delivery Suite being open, especially as my mum has worked for Southmead for so long.
“It was great to meet some of the people that my mum works with because she’s always talking about them and what a great team they are.”
North Bristol NHS Trust invited former staff, mothers and babies born at Southmead to the anniversary celebrations of the unit, which was opened by Princess Anne.
Families were invited to share their stories and more than 120 did so, telling of babies born on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, those who arrived on the same birthday as their relatives and some born during football World Cups. Some women said their experiences of giving birth at Southmead Hospital inspired them to become midwives, while some Southmead babies are now working in the CDS.
Former Southmead midwives also got in touch with their memories of working in the CDS over the last 30 years.
Central Delivery suite matron, Cathy Molloy, said: “It was wonderful to see so many Southmead mums and babies and current and former midwives together in one room to celebrate 30 years of Central Delivery Suite.
“On a personal level, it was lovely to be reunited with the first baby I delivered back in 1986 when I was training, and it was great that Olympian and Southmead baby Jenny Jones could be part of the celebrations along with her mum, our oldest and longest-serving midwife.”
Trust chief executive, Andrea Young – herself a qualified midwife – also joined the celebrations.
She said: “Southmead Hospital’s maternity unit is such a great place to be and our midwives see people at such an important time in their lives. It is a great privilege to be a midwife and to be chief executive of such a fantastic maternity unit, celebrating this special anniversary.
“I still remember the first baby I delivered 35 years ago and it is lovely that some of the mums and babies born here were able to join in the celebrations.”
More than 6,000 babies are born with North Bristol NHS Trust every year, in the CDS, Mendip and Cossham Birth Centres and women’s own homes. The maternity services also featured in two series of popular Channel 4 documentary show One Born Every Minute.