The Chester Childbirth Appeal was started in 1991 by a small group of midwives, led by a retired midwife tutor, Pat Daniels. This small, dynamic local charity was one of the first charities in the country to support the maternity services within an NHS hospital and captured the imagination of Diana, Princess of Wales, who became our First Patron and inspired us to raise over £1 million.
The main goal of the Chester Childbirth Appeal is to match the excellent midwifery and obstetric care available with improvements to the hospital environment. Whilst the NHS continues to fund all medical care and essential work, the Childbirth Appeal endeavours to provide a home-like, more personalised atmosphere, within the safety of the hospital setting.
We focus on making it possible for all mothers to benefit from the comforts associated with home, combined with the confidence inspired by the availability of medical support and the choices offered by modern midwifery techniques.
From left-right: Tony Gibbons (Chairman), Louise Owen (Patron), Pat Daniels (Appeal Director),
Cynthia Alcock (Trustee and Volunteer), Mark Fryer (Trustee)
Chester has a long history of Maternity Services. The City's first specialist Maternity Unit opened in 1903. These services were transferred to the City Hospital in 1929 which had originally been St. James' workhouse. The current Maternity Unit was designed and built in the 1960's as the first phase of the proposed District General Hospital.
The midwives and obstetricians moved in during October 1971, and the Unit was officially opened by Professor N. Jeffcoate in March 1972. Since then many thousands of babies have been born here. The District General Hospital was opened by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales in 1984 and took its name "The Countess of Chester" from her title as the Earl of Chester's wife. The Princess honoured us with her patronage from 1992. Although we were the smallest charity to come under Princess Diana's care, we were always invited to national events and she gave her unstinting support for our local ones, when many of our Appeal members had the honour and pleasure of meeting Her. Following Her untimely death, Her Grace, The Duchess of Westminster became our Principal Patron in October 1997 and remained so until October 2007.
Michael Owen, the footballer and his wife Louise have recently become Principal Patrons, and we look forward to a long and happy relationship with them. Over the years, we have been very fortunate to have the support from a number of Patrons to include: