A MIDWIFE who fainted at her first delivery has retired after nearly four decades in the profession which saw her deliver hundreds of babies across Northallerton.

As a popular theory goes, all individuals are connected within a chain of six steps but Anne Court can surely claim to be much more closely connected to swathes of Northallerton's population after working as a midwife in the town for one month shy of 40-years.

Yet despite enjoying such a long and fruitful career, it wasn't plan sailing at the start as Ms Court recalls with a chuckle that she fainted when seeing her first birth.

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She said: "It was hot in the room and it was in the days before the 'One Born Every Minute' TV programme so I had never seen a baby being born before and I thought 'oh my goodness, what have I let myself in for!'.

"But I thought, 'just keep going Anne'."

And so she did, for another 40-years during which time she saw the profession '"come full circle" from the medicalisation of childbirth then back to the contemporary natural methods more in keeping with the thinking of the 1970s.

"It is more women-centred care now," she said.

"In the 80s and 90s it got more medicalised and it has really gone full-circle to how I actually started midwifery.

"It has gone through that medicalisation where everybody was monitored and stuck in bed, whereas now we encourage them to get up and walk about.

"What goes around comes around I suppose."

Ms Court, who has two sons herself, Robert and Andrew, estimates she delivered around 600 babies during her career and says she will miss the camaraderie of the midwifery team at the Friarage Hospital.

The 64-year-old added: "I always said that if I lost the buzz for the job that was the time to finish, so I just kept going on.

"It wasn't job, it just gave me a buzz and I never felt it was a chore going to work."

Ms Court started her career in The Mount before moving to the Friarge Hospital and spent her later years working out in the community.

She said she has enjoyed playing a role in so many family's lives.

"I will miss having that continuity through the generations, where I am looking after pregnant women that I have actually delivered in the past," she said.