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Celebrating 40 years of York’s Maternity Unit

The Midwifery team celebrating 40 years of York Maternity Unit

14 May 2024

Celebrations were held at York’s maternity unit this week as staff marked 40 years of delivery babies in the city.

Midwives were also treated to a trip down memory lane with photos shared from the past four decades. 

Two midwives also added that extra special touch of compassion by adding their personal touches to the occasion. On the day a phenomenal 40th cake made by Midwife Laura Mitchell was shared with staff at an anniversary lunch and Midwife Sue Cowley presented her handmade knitted baby set to the first baby born on the day on the labour ward.

Staff past and present were invited to the event on the unit on Wigginton Road which was officially opened by the then Archbishop of York, Dr. John Habgood on 9 May 1984.  Before the opening of the maternity unit, babies were born at the Fulford Maternity Hospital, which at the time was England’s largest maternity unit.  The hospital, which is now home to York’s Designer Outlet, closed in the winter of 1983 and all expectant mums and new mums were moved to York.

Organised by Bev Waterhouse, Deputy Head of Midwifery, the occasion brought back memories.

“We even have staff now that were born in York in 1984, so we have seen a lot of photos of special hairstyles and clothes from the Eighties!” Bev explained.

“In the 40 years since opening, we have seen many changes, but one fact remains the same and that is how proud we are to be midwives. It is the best job in the world.  There is a fantastic team of midwives in our Trust, it is quite a small team of loving compassionate midwives striving for the best care for mums and their babies, we are extremely lucky.”

Staff member Gemma Ellison was born in 1984.  She is now Associate Chief Operating Officer for Family Health at the Trust and works to support midwives.  She gave birth to her two children in York and said she is ‘privileged’ to play a part in the Trust’s strategy for assisting families in the city.

“This is my hospital, the hospital where my mum gave birth to me and where both my children arrived into this world. I just remember how caring and supportive the staff were when I had my children,” Gemma explained.

Sascha Wells Monro OBE, Directory of Midwifery for the Trust, said: “It’s been wonderful to mark all the hard work of our midwives.  They share a unique moment in families' lives so we should mark 40 years of their remarkable work in York and Scarborough. 

Sascha added: “This week has been a celebration of the beginning of life, and I am very privileged to work here. I am immensely proud of the care and support we give to each woman who comes through our doors – here’s to the next 40 years.”

The day included a grand prize raffle which raised over £1,500 for the York & Scarborough Hospitals Charity.

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