She stepped in to stop a premature baby being born on a holiday flight home and now Walsall midwife Angela Chamberlain has scooped one of the The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards, attending a star-studded ceremony with the likes of Prince William and David Beckham.
Angela had been to Tenerife with husband Russ when the flight home took a twist, last March, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellow passenger Lauren McLean had gone into labour – ten weeks early.
“It really was like something out of a film when the call went out for someone who was medically trained,” said Angela. “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,” she said. “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.”
The flight was diverted to Faro in Portugal where Lauren and her partner Jake were taken to hospital. Baby Oscar arrived weighing 3 pounds and 7 ounces, just 15 minutes after the couple landed in Portugal.
Grateful Lauren and her family have now become friends with Angela who receives regular updates on Oscar and was able to meet up for the first time in the summer. And they attended The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Award ceremony in London, televised earlier this evening on Channel 4, where a host of celebrities joined in to praise NHS heroes from across the country.
“I had the most amazing time,” said Angela who had her photo taken with Rod Stewart, Penny Lancaster, Frank Lampard and David Beckham to name just a few of the celebrities in attendance at the event which was hosted by Davina McCall.
“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. She sat by X Factor star Fleur East and also had chance to talk to Villa and England star Tyrone Mings who has recently become a father.
And when she thinks back to her midair midwifery Angela says: “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.”