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Midwife Helen Collins Retires after 48 Years of Service to NHS

Newsdate: 19 May 2016Helen Collins with Diane Swindlehurst

Friends and colleagues gathered together to wish WWL Registered Midwife, Helen Collins, a very happy retirement on Tuesday 17 May.

A hugely respected member of the maternity team, Helen also enjoyed great popularity amongst her colleagues, which was reflected in the fantastic turn out her retirement celebration drew. Her retirement party was held in the staff coffee room of the Maternity Ward of Wigan Infirmary.

Originally from Bolton, Helen has given 48 years of incredible service to our Trust and her dedication was honoured by WWL Head of Midwifery, Diane Swindlehurst, and WWL Assistant Director of Nursing, Amanda Cheesman, attending her retirement celebration.

Her committed work for the NHS in Wigan began in 1971 when she qualified as a nurse. She originally began work on North Ward, then a very busy orthopaedic ward for men. In 1972, she decided to pursue a career in midwifery. After qualifying as a midwife in 1973, she then worked as a Community Midwife until 1976, when she started a family with her husband, John. She has two wonderful children, daughter, Anne, and son, David.

Helen returned to midwifery in 1979, initially on night duty. It was during this time that she would make some lifelong friends who, together with Helen, would become affectionately known as Dad’s Army. Even though the rest of the group retired before Helen, they stHelen with Colleaguesill regularly meet up for lunches.

When rotation started, Helen moved on to day shifts on the delivery suite and has been a shift leader for many years. Her commitment to midwifery has seen her involved with the Royal College of Midwives, both as a chairperson and a steward, during the staff grading. She has also been a mentor to midwifery students and news staff, helpfully allowing them to benefit from her wealth of experience.

As well as experience, Helen has also set herself high standards of performance, something she tries to pass on to others. For this, she earned the playful nickname “Mamma H on roller skates” from the rest of her team.

However, Helen also had a compassionate side which made her perfect for midwifery. She demonstrated this with one of her proudest Helen Collins with Amanda Cheesmanachievements, by setting up the “Birth Afterthoughts Debrief Service.” This popular service, gives ladies and their families a private space and opportunity, to discuss their labour and delivery when things may not have gone as planned.

One of the highlights of Helen’s career was being invited to the Queen’s Garden Party to celebrate after 40 years of service to the NHS.

She leaves behind a strong legacy at WWL and a whole host of fond memories. Her colleagues have nothing but positive tributes for her. WWL Midwife, Angela Jordan, said, “Working alongside Helen over 17 years, and more closely in the last 2, I have been thankful for her guidance and support; her passion and love for midwifery is infectious. She will be missed.”

WWL Head of Midwifery, Diane Swindlehurst, said, “I would like to thank Helen for all of her dedicated and compassionate work during her incredible 48 years at our Trust. Midwifery can be a challenging but enjoyable profession and her passion for the job has shone through throughout her time here. She is an inspiration to others and a great example to follow. I wish her all the very best for the future and a happy, wonderful retirement.”

Helen herself had this to say, “I would like to say thank you to my friends and colleagues for their support over the years and to give them all a pat on the back for empowering women to make choices in their care. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career and have very mixed emotions about retirement.”

All of us at WWL would like to wish Helen a very happy retirement and all the best for the future.