Walsall midwife who saved the day on Tenerife flight wins national award

A midwife from the Black Country who stepped in to stop a premature baby being born on a holiday flight has been honoured at the Who Cares Wins Awards.

Angela (centre) with Lauren and Frank Lampard
Angela (centre) with Lauren and Frank Lampard

Angela Chamberlain, who works at the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, was honoured at an awards ceremony attended by the Duke of Cambridge and David Beckham.

Angela had been to Tenerife with her husband Russ last March, prior to the Covid pandemic, when their flight home took a twist. When she saw passenger Lauren McLean had gone into labour 10 weeks early, Angela stepped in to try and stop the premature baby being born mid-air.

She said: "It was really was like something out of a film when the call went out for someone who was medically trained. I didn't do anything at first as I wasn't sure what type of emergency it was – when it became clear a midwife was needed I obviously went to see what I could do.

"I remember taking a few seconds to block everyone and everything out, get out of holiday mode and compose myself to help Lauren.

"I was so concerned that she didn't give birth on the plane because of her baby being premature. She needed to get to a hospital and I needed to keep the baby where he was.

"I could feel the baby’s head and knew Lauren was fully dilated. I taught her how to breathe through her contractions and as she lay on the floor I took her weight as she tilted her pelvis backwards so gravity might help to keep the baby in.”

Angela Chamberlain and baby Oscar, inset

The flight was diverted to Faro, in Portugal, where Lauren and her partner Jake were taken to hospital. Baby Oscar arrived weighing three pounds and seven ounces, just 15 minutes after the couple landed in Portugal.

Lauren and her family have now become friends with Angela who receives regular updates on Oscar and were able to meet up for the first time in the summer.

And they also attended The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Award ceremony in London, televised on Channel 4 on Sunday, where a host of celebrities joined in to praise NHS heroes from across the country.

Angela, who had her photo taken with Rod Stewart, Frank Lampard and David Beckham, said: "I had the most amazing time.

Oscar was suited and booted for the awards ceremony

“When they were announcing best midwife as soon as I heard them say something like “sprang into action” I knew it was me they were talking about.

"When I went on stage I was looking at the audience and could see Prince William, Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Gary Lineker. It was all a bit surreal and I was so shocked.

"But I did remember to name drop Walsall!”

Mother-of-three Angela has worked for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust for eight years and is a community midwife.

Reflecting on her mid-air midwifery, Angela added: "I am proud of the fact I could help but did feel quite traumatised afterwards because you can’t help but think of all the things that could have gone wrong, with the added pressure of being thousands of feet up in the air.

“But what is really lovely is the fact that I’ve been able to see this little baby as he grows, as a midwife you can’t keep in touch with all your families but we’ve become friends with Lauren’s family now.”

Also honoured at the awards ceremony were West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedics Michael Hipgrave and Deena Evans, who were stabbed by a man they had gone to check on in Wolverhampton.

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