Best-selling author and comedian, Adam Kay, presented a special award to the year’s most outstanding midwife via video link at Northwick Park Hospital.
The annual Gwen Richardson Award celebrated the achievements of Jacqui Martin, a safeguarding midwife, whose work singled her out in a maternity unit that assists in thousands of births a year.
Adam, author of This is Going to Hurt, was invited by Liz Hopkins, the late Gwen Richardson’s daughter. Liz said: “My mum was a local midwife in the 1940s and 50s until she had kids of her own. She loved being a midwife and the award is both a tribute to her memory and in recognition of the profession”.
Gwen was diagnosed with dementia in her 80s, and was treated at Northwick Park where nurses referred to her as ‘sister’ and allowed her to sit at the nurse’s station.
Liz said: “My mum used to ask the nurses if they could get her a uniform so she could help on the ward. She was forgetful in many ways but, when you asked her to talk about her days as a midwife, her eyes lit up and she would remember it all clearly.
“It’s tough for any family looking after a loved one with dementia but those memories were so strong, it was like turning the clock back. It was lovely to see. She used to enjoy watching box sets of ‘Call the Midwife’ because it was set in the era when she was working as one herself.”
Pippa Nightingale, Chief Executive of LNWH and a midwife herself, said: “Babies keep arriving regardless of midwife shortages, strikes and sickness so we have a pretty hardy bunch here who regularly go above and beyond the call of duty.
“The unit has been through a lot of change in recent years and I am proud of the way the team has handled that and kept moving forward.”