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UK Mum Award Winners

UK MUM AWARDUK MUM Award Winners: Miracles happen in great teams – unsung heroes in UK maternity teams receive heartfelt thanks from parents and miracle babies

Thirteen maternity unit teams were the deserving recipients of team awards after the grateful parents of 18 ‘miracle babies’ ensured their life-saving achievements did not go unrecognised. Maternity teams from across the UK made the journey to be reunited with the parents of children they’d saved and take part in a special thank-you event at the national MUM Awards (Maternity Unit Miracles) held at the Rainforest Café in London on 6th November where they picked up their awards.

National Winners’ University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, who received multiple nominations from grateful parents in the region, won the national MUM award after being nominated by Claire Parry who underwent an emergency Caesarean delivery to save the lives of her two baby daughters born 13 weeks prematurely after she herself had been diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a very serious liver and blood clotting disorder.

“It’s a very hard job that they do and must be very hard on them on the bad days when they can’t let their emotion show and yet they still remain strong and support the parents and care for the babies”, said Claire.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust Chief Executive Officer, Andy Hardy said:

“The entire team are thrilled and delighted with this award. Each year staff deliver more than 6,000 babies and care for some of the sickest babies in the country in our intensive care baby unit. This is a fantastic accolade that I know the staff will treasure and we would like to thank everyone who nominated University Hospital and I would like to thank Claire particularly for her nomination”.

The MUM awards were launched in 2004 to celebrate excellence in maternity care and recognise the collective work of joined up teams working together in the NHS to ensure healthy and successful outcomes for both mother and child.

In many cases, not only were children saved but mothers too, and Diane Mantle from Warrington bears testament to this after falling pregnant with twins following a prior miscarriage. Following a very challenging pregnancy, shortly after suffering with a collapsed lung after movement from one of the twins she was carrying, Diane was found to have also suffered a heart attack.

After careful monitoring from the maternity team at Warrington Neonatal and Maternity Unit, Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Trust, her babies were delivered at 34.5 weeks via Caesarean section. Diane said,

“Now my twins are 4, gorgeous and at pre-school and full of the joys of being a child. Warrington Hospital is an amazing place from the Nurses in Neonatal who looked after my twins and me so amazingly”.

Warrington Hospital Maternity team took home the MUM award for the North West region.

Kings College in London received a special commendation for the work they did to save baby Charlie Howells (now aged 2) who had Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) and required life-saving foetal surgery both inside and outside the womb. With a Kings College maternity team of 10 medical professionals on hand to assist in his natural delivery, Charlie’s story had a happy ending however 50% of children who undergo surgery for CDH aren’t always as lucky.

A further ten NHS trusts received regional awards covering the South, North East, West Midlands, London and the South East, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, East Midlands, East Anglia and the South West regions.

Celebrity guests supporting the families and maternity teams at the Rainforest Cafe included Jimmi Harkinshin and Kate Ford from Coronation Street as well as Emma Jesson the familiar and popular face of ITV Weather and news features.

National Winner
Nominator: Claire Parry
Maternity team: University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust Maternity Unit
Key contact: Neonatal intensive care unit

At just under 27 weeks pregnant with twins, Claire Parry was sent to hospital with a suspected chest infection. There she was tested for pre-eclampsia and diagnosed with HELLP syndrome. This is a combined liver and blood clotting disorder that can affect pregnant women and occurs where red blood cells break down, proteins become high and the platelet count is low. As platelets are needed to help the blood clot, she was given a platelet transfusion. The recognised course of action with HELLP syndrome is to deliver the baby quickly so Claire underwent an emergency C-section to deliver both babies safely.Jessica weighed only 2lb 2oz at birth and her twin Lucie just 1lb 4oz. Both had a long hard struggle, were on oxygen, had numerous transfusions, laser eye treatment and suffered various setbacks. Finally, after 117 days in hospital, Jessica went home and, two weeks later, so did Lucie, still on oxygen.

NHS Covent WarwsUK MUM Award National Winner

Left to Right: Karen Sidgwick, Kristie Mann, Louisa Eadon, Cathryn Seagrave, Prakash Satodia, Yvonne Huskins, Liam Labbett and Lucie, Claire Parry and Jessica


Commended Winner
Nominator: Lauren Gotlieb on behalf of Lucy Howells
Maternity team: King’s College Hospital, Maternity Unit
Key contact: Professor Nicolaides

Told that their unborn baby was suffering from Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, Lucy and Richard Howells made the brave decision to undergo ground-breaking foetal surgery at King’s College Hospital and also turned to Ronald MacDonald House in Camberwell for help and support.At 25 weeks keyhole surgery was performed under local anesthetic: a small balloon was inserted into their baby’s wind pipe to try and help his lung to grow. Seven weeks later the balloon was deflated and Lucy and Richard were given the news that the procedure had been successful. Lucy says “We were over the moon but we knew there was still a long road ahead before we could be sure of our baby’s survival.”Lucy spent the rest of her pregnancy in hospital and gave birth naturally to Charlie on 12th May 2010 who was immediately taken to Intensive Care. He was only two days old when he was operated on to repair the hole in his diaphragm and reposition the organs within his abdomen.

Charlie is now two years old. Speaking of their experience Lucy says,” Babies diagnosed with CDH only have a 50 percent chance of survival after undergoing foetal surgery and Charlie was one of the lucky ones and for that we thank the entire team at King’s College Hospital.”
King's College HospitalRonald McDonald House CharityHowells Family

Nominator: Shona Fairie
Maternity team: Southern General Maternity Unit
Key Contact: Dr Judith Roberts

Shona Fairie experienced the devastating trauma of three miscarriages before finally giving birth to her much longed for daughter. Before conception, thorough investigations were carried out to determine the reasons for her history of miscarriages. So when she became pregnant again, once more Shona received excellent care and support from the Southern General Maternity Unit and, despite some complications, managed to carry her baby to thirty-seven weeks.

The labour was long and the baby distressed but the medical professionals reacted promptly to successfully deliver baby Beth.

“I honestly feel like I was really taken care of and that the maternity team went the extra mile,” says Shona.NHS ScotlandScotland Hospital TeamShona Fairie


Nominator: Victoria Shaw
Maternity team: Princess of Wales Hospital Neonatal Unit
Key contact: Helen James – Ward Manager

Having just been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, Victoria Shaw was surprised and delighted to discover she was pregnant.Because of her condition she was closely monitored and when scans showed a loss of fluid and a problem with the blood flow to the placenta, she was immediately brought in and swiftly taken to the maternity ward. After a foetal monitor detected problems with the baby’s heartbeat, Victoria was quickly rushed into theatre for an emergency C-section.11 weeks early and weighing only 1lb 14oz, baby Maisy spent the next six weeks on the special care unit where the staff took great care of her and her anxious mum. Sadly, just as she was due to go home, Maisy got a stomach infection and spent a further ten days on ICU. A week before the original due date, immensely happy mum Victoria was able to take her “little miracle” home.

NHS WalesWales TeamLeft to right: Helen James, Neonatal Ward Manager. Wendy Jones, Nursery Nurse. Kate Creese, Consultant and Neonatal Lead. Victoria and Maisy Shaw. Sarah Jones, Staff Nurse. Julie Evans, Sister. Victoria Knoye-Allen, Staff Nurse. Meryl Roberts, Postnatal Ward Manager

North West
Nominator: Diane Mantle
Maternity team: Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Warrington Maternity unit
Key contact: Mr Griffiths

After five gruelling rounds of IVF and a miscarriage, Diane Mantle was thrilled to find she was expecting twins in 2007. She immediately started suffering from extreme morning sickness and was hospitalised twice. This was only the start of her problems – a scan showed that one of the babies only had one kidney, Diane herself suffered a collapsed lung and shockingly, at 32 weeks, a heart attack. Yet, despite everything, at thirty-four and a half weeks she had a planned C-section and Millie and Jesse were safely delivered. The twins are now 4 years old and Diane is full of praise for Warrington Hospital.

“I still can’t believe sometimes I got there in the end and the care and support I received from Warrington maternity was first rate.”
NHS North westNorth West TeamBack (L-R): Bernie Halliday (C21 Ward Manager) Rita Arya (Consultant), Lyndsay Roughley (Midwife, Antenatal Day Unit), Mel Hudson (Head of Midwifery), Claire Evans (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner) Front (L-R): Yvonne Erikson (Matron, Women’s Health), Jesse, Diane, Milly, Gill Parsonage (Community Midwife)

North East
Nominator: Katherine Smith
Maternity team: University Hospital of North Durham Maternity Unit
Key contact: Maternity Unit

Katherine Smith was pregnant with her first child, when scans showed that his bowels had formed outside of his body indicating the need for immediate surgery at birth. A scan at thirty-five weeks gave her the further bad news that his heart rate was not very good either. That same afternoon, following pains, she was admitted to hospital for a series of tests and ended up being taken into theatre for an emergency C-section. Shortly after he was born, baby Dominick was transferred to another hospital for his essential surgery.

The maternity staff reassured and compassionately supported her throughout the dramatic series of events and Katherine says they “made a very emotional scary time for me easier and I appreciate everything they did for me.”
NHS North East North East TeamMr Partha Sengupta, Dawn Egglinton, Mandy Joyce, Allison Metters, Joanne Dunn, Gemma Muirhead with Katherine & Dominick

West Midlands
Nominator: Amanda Swindale
Maternity team: Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust Maternity and Neonatal Intensive Care Units
Key contact: Laura Fleming

Amanda Swindle had already suffered one tragedy when life-threatening pre-eclampsia had meant inducing her 24 week old baby, Erin, who tragically only lived for ten days.

The following year Amanda was pregnant with twins. Given her history she was monitored vigilantly. Unfortunately at 22 weeks pre-eclampsia returned and she was admitted to hospital. Following a scan at 24 weeks which showed severe complications for one of her babies, Amanda underwent a C-section. Toby was born weighing 550g and Lauren 449g. At less than a week old Toby was rushed off for emergency surgery and Lauren sadly passed away. After a series of setbacks Toby gradually improved and finally went home at seven months. Amanda wrote

“He is a little miracle with everything he has been through and I owe my life and Toby’s life to this great hospital.”
NHS West Midlands West Midlands Team
Amanda Swindale, Toby, Dr Ellen Knox (right) and Laura Fleming (left)

East Midlands
Nominator: Eleanor Roberts
Maternity team: Royal Derby Hospital Maternity Unit
Key Contact: Eimear Keiron

Mum of two, Eleanor Roberts, had a very difficult third pregnancy. She started bleeding at 20 weeks and spent the next seven in hospital being closely monitored.

“As the days went on and I was still bleeding I made myself prepare for the worst,” she explained.

She was allowed home for Christmas but that things took a dramatic turn that evening when she started having contractions. Back in hospital, she seemed in danger of rupturing her uterus and was rushed off for an emergency C-section. Her baby, Conall (which means ‘strong’), was wrapped up in plastic and whisked away. The following weeks were very challenging but 12 weeks later, on Mother’s Day, Eleanor was able to take her baby boy home at last.NHS east midlands

East Anglia
Nominator: Louise Mossman
Maternity team: Hinchingbrooke Hospital Maternity Unit
Key contact: Mrs Suzanne Hamilton

Louise Mossman has no doubts that she owes her life to the staff involved in her care when she severely haemorrhaged after giving birth to her daughter Evie.She was 41 weeks pregnant when she had to be induced. However during labour she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, carefully monitored and put on a drip. After a successful birth she suddenly felt unwell and lost consciousness. But, thanks to the prompt intervention of the medical professionals who rushed her into surgery and the expert care she received in intensive care, she was soon happily reunited with baby Evie and nursed back to health.
NHS East AngliaEast Anglia Team

Sweta Priyanka foreground, Geetha background, Liz Stevenson foreground, Donna Gentle background, baby Evie with Louise Mossman in the middle, April Hurst background, Suzanne Hamilton foreground, Gerry Morley background, Kim Davis foreground far right.


Nominator: Jane Clark
Maternity team: St Mary’s Hospital Maternity Unit, Isle of Wight
Key contact: Annie Hunter

After trying to conceive for four years and a miscarriage, Jane Clark was overjoyed to be pregnant but suffered a heart-breaking loss when her waters broke just eighteen weeks into her pregnancy and her baby passed away. Too distraught to see her daughter initially, she received amazing support at the hospital from caring bereavement staff who made sure she was able to say goodbye to her daughter when she was ready to do so.Not long afterwards Jane was surprised to find she was pregnant again. Terrified of losing the baby, the pregnancy quickly became “a nightmare”. At 21 weeks she had to have a cervical stitch and when, at 36 weeks her blood pressure became high there was no other option but to be induced. Despite a brief initial stay in NCIU, baby Elsie was soon able to go home to her adoring family.NHS SouthSouth Team

Jo Pennell – Midwife, Adrian green – Consultant OG, Amanda Pearson – Risk midwife, Christina Arnold – student midwife, Anya wright – ANC coordinator, Annie hunter – Head of Midwifery

South West

Nominator: Lisa Moran
Maternity team: Princess Alexandra Maternity Wing, Royal Cornwall Hospital
Key contact: Lisa Verity

Lisa Moran had two complicated pregnancies but two happy outcomes. 20 weeks into her first pregnancy, a scan revealed a large fibroid below her uterus and placenta praevia (when the placenta grows in the lowest part of the womb (uterus) and covers all or part of the opening to the cervix). At 24 weeks she was admitted with contractions, then again at 33 weeks and ended up spending the last few weeks of her pregnancy in hospital. At 37 weeks she had a C-section and her baby Piran was born.Her second pregnancy followed a similar pattern with the added complication of placenta acreta (when the placenta attaches deeply into the wall of the womb). The medical professionals kept a close eye on her throughout and she was admitted to hospital at 29 weeks due to pain from her fibroid and again at 34 weeks, once more remaining in until she gave birth at 36 weeks. Because of the danger posed by placenta acreta, her C-section was carried out in the main operating theatre by an expert team and everything went well. Unfortunately baby Connor subsequently developed breathing difficulties and bronchitis and was taken to the neo-natal ward where he was expertly nursed back to health. Lisa has no doubts who to thank for her two beautiful sons and is pleased to be able to sing the maternity team’s praises for all to hear.

NHS South WestSouth West Team

RCHTs maternity and neonatal team Left to right (back) Helen Shanahan – midwife and breastfeeding co-ordinator, Suzanne Yates – delivery suite co-ordinator, Jo Robinson – community midwife, Dr Catherine Ralph – consultant anaesthetist, Pip Millward – neonatal unit staff nurse (Front) Lisa Verity – consultant obstetrician, Connor Moran, Lisa Moran, Piran Moran, Kim Hewlett – midwife

London and South East

Nominator: Joanne Day
Maternity team: Oliver Fisher Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Medway Hospital

Joanne Day woke up one morning to discover she was rapidly losing fluid. She was just 26+4 weeks pregnant with identical twins. A scan showed one of the babies was losing his amniotic fluid and the situation became very tense. Joanne was swiftly put onto steroids to help develop the babies’ lungs and thankfully two days later Harry and Joshua were delivered by emergency C-section.The twins, weighing just 2lb 4oz and 2lb 6oz, were immediately put onto ventilators and given blood transfusions. Over the rocky weeks that followed Joanne wrote

“the doctors at the unit were absolutely fantastic and always one step ahead.” Twelve weeks later she was able to take Harry and Joshua home. “I will always be grateful for what they did for my boys and me at the hospital.”

NHS MedwayMedway team

From left to right: Nikki Thomas, Dr Santosh Pattnayak, Anna Francis, Mum (Joanna Day), Harry and Joshua Louise Proffitt, Dr Aung Soe and Sarah Harris.

Northern Ireland

Nominator: Janice McCarron
Maternity team: Craigavon Area Hospital, Maternity Unit
Key contact: Beverley Adams

Janice McCarron had what she describes as “an incredibly difficult pregnancy”, at high risk of a premature delivery yet she “always felt in safe hands” at Craigavon Area Hospital and the staff always ensured that she felt that her opinions mattered. Her baby, Alice Angela, was born five weeks early and spent a few days in neonatal care. Janice is full of praise for the medical team.

“I strongly believe the special care that Alice and I received in those early days helped to build the bond we enjoy now.”

HSC Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland Team

Front row left to right: Staff Midwife Valerie Edgar, Janice McCarron and baby Alice, Sister Una Toland Neonatal Unit
Back row left to right: Patricia McStay Head of Midwifery, Sister Margaret Gilpin, Dr Des Orr Anaesthetist (Stand in for Dr Goddard ), Dr Beverley Adams, Staff Midwife Sinead Quinn


Congratulations from Judy Ledger

It is with enormous pride that I welcome all our guests attending the celebration of Baby Lifeline and this year’s UK MUM (Maternity Unit Miracles) Awards, at London’s Rainforest Cafe and the House of Lords.

I would particularly like to thank Lord Philip Hunt OBE of Kings Heath and the Rainforest Cafe management for their part in hosting these two wonderful events, as well as our generous sponsors Danone, Nestor Partnership, Premex, ISS Mediclean Limited, and Mark Beaumont and Sally Dunscombe through the Brain Injury Group who have helped to make it all possible.

When founding Baby Lifeline over 30 years ago now, I had just experienced the tragedy of losing three babies consecutively – all born prematurely. After this, and thanks to the incredible care from teams of health professionals from the maternity units in Coventry, Birmingham and South Warwickshire, I now have three wonderful children – Richard, James and Sara.

I completely understand first-hand the exceptional skills and dedication shown, often in adverse and under-resourced conditions. From setting out to raise funds for just one incubator for Coventry’s Neonatal Unit after losing my third baby – Stuart, in 1981, to today’s Baby Lifeline, which has equipped and supported specialist training for most UK maternity units and their health professionals as well as providing training internationally.

Created by Baby Lifeline in 2005, the UK MUM Awards are designed to publicly recognise the amazing dedication and expertise that exists in our maternity sector. Thanks to media support led nationally this year by the Sun Newspaper and on line support from Shop Direct, many moving and extraordinary stories were received from families all over the UK, outlining the exceptional care given to pregnant mothers, their unborn and newborn babies.

Our judges found it a difficult task to select the award winning health care teams as all the nominating stories were so worthy, but the winners were finally chosen and their stories feature in this brochure. My congratulations go to all of the winning hospital teams and my thanks to the parents and children who kindly nominated them.

The UK MUM Awards demonstrate that, despite many difficulties encountered by Mums-to-be and their babies, through the determination, dedication and incredible care given by teams of maternity health professionals, they have survived the most dangerous journey of life – birth.

What is more precious than life itself and what better place to start caring than at the beginning?

Judy Ledger

Founder & Chief Executive of Baby Lifeline


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