Veteran midwife Anne Court has retired after 40 years of helping hundreds of babies into the world at the Friarage Hospital and across the local community.
Yet the first time she witnessed a birth, she fainted!
“I saw my first delivery at Greenbank Hospital in Darlington and it was so hot in the room that I passed out… I just thought oh goodness what have I done?”
After doing her general training at Northallerton and then qualifying as a registered nurse, Anne was approached by ‘matron’ to see if she would be interested in working at the Mount Maternity Hospital in 1977.
While it wasn’t her first career choice, Anne’s passion for the job quickly grew and she steadily progressed from being a staff midwife to sister, dedicating her time to mums and babies on the maternity ward until the mid-1990s when she joined the community midwifery team.
She admits she’s lost count of the number of babies she has delivered over the years but estimates it is between 700 and 800.
“I’ve never lost the buzz of helping mums and babies – I always said if I did it would be time to stop but for my whole career I’ve loved my job,” she said.
“I also really enjoyed training and mentoring the student midwives when I was at the Mount and, of course, I’ll miss the team – they’re more than colleagues, they’re my friends.”
Community midwife manager Julie Larder added: “Anne is just a diamond who has been a true professional throughout her career and also a great support to all her friends and colleagues – we’ll miss her!”
Instead of retirement gifts, Anne asked for donations to be made to Wendy’s Wish and ovarian cancer. She now plans to put her feet up for six months before enrolling on a few courses and visiting her son in America.