A FAMILIAR face for generations of new mums has hung up her midwife’s uniform after more than 40 years.
Dorothy Gardner, who is the current Mayor of South Ribble, started out as a nurse in 1962 and in 1967 she qualified as a midwife.
The 70-year-old spent the majority of her career at the Royal Preston Hospital and after delivering her final baby at the Sharoe Green Unit she has left the role.
The councillor described the past 46 years as a “wonderful career” and said she has “lost count” of how many babies she has delivered, but says it “must be thousands”.
“I decided from being eight or nine that I wanted to be a nurse,” said Coun Gardner.
“I retired in 2003, that was my official retirement but at that time they were building the unit, I had been on the commissioning team and I still wanted to do midwifery and I wanted to work in the new unit. When they were short staffed I started doing a few hours a week then it grew and grew and at some stage I was working almost full time, when I became Mayor I cut it down.”
Coun Gardner, who lives in Lostock Hall, said she was keen to not let either role suffer and always waned to give 100 per cent to both her position as Mayor and as a midwife.
“It was the care giving to the mums, the many mums that came in, that I enjoyed, and presenting their baby to them at the end.
“It’s hard work at times, a lot more than it was 40 years ago. There’s a lot more antenatal care, more medical problems and a lot more caesarean sections.”
In the early 1980s she spent two years working in a county council facility for unmarried mothers.
As well as many happy times, there has also been some sad times. She said: “There are sad times. I feel that I have been able to support mums in the sad times. We lost our first little girl. Rachel died when she was two in 1974. I was able to talk about how they would cope afterwards.” Some of the highlights for Coun Gardner have included delivering relatives’ babies. She said: “It has been lovely to deliver relative’s babies and friends’ babies.”
She said: “It has been a wonderful career, I couldn’t have done anything else.”