A MIDWIFE who played a key role in saving a town’s maternity services has retired after 40 years of delivering babies.

Lesley Brown, from Darlington, delivered her last youngster, Bertie Douglas James Walker, at Darlington Memorial Hospital on May 24 marking the official end of her midwifery career.

Bertie is the son of the best friend of Mrs Brown’s daughter, Jenni Miller, who said it was a fitting as Mrs Brown also delivered both of Bertie’s parents, Beth and Luke Walker.

Mrs Miller said: “She’s been in partial retirement but she wanted Bertie to be her last baby. She came back from holiday early just to do it.

"But she would do that for anybody. She would deliver anyone’s baby and that's just the person she is. She's amazing."

In 2016, Mrs Brown was the chair of the campaign group Save Our Services Darlington (SOS Darlington) after MP Jenny Chapman raised concerns about the impact of potential changes to services at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

A wide-ranging review of hospital services across the region led to concerns that 24-hour accident and emergency, paediatric and maternity services would be axed at the hospital.

Mrs Brown, Ms Chapman and supporters were worried the potential Better Health Programme would mean downgrading of DMH’s departments.

For almost a year, the group took to the streets to spread word of their campaign and gather signatures on a petition outlining strong opposition to any potential downgrading of services.

Mrs Miller said: "My mum played a massive part in saving the hospital and maternity services. I don't think people realise just how close it was to closing.

"My mum dedicated so much of her time to do the SoS stuff. She was out doing all the campaigns and raising awareness for it.

"There’s not many people who would give up so much of their time to save a service that benefits so many people."

Mrs Brown, who worked in Greenbank and Darlington Memorial Hospital, came to Darlington in her twenties to study nursing and midwifery.

It was in Darlington where she met her husband, who was also from Edinburgh, and decided to stay in the town and follow her career.

Mrs Miller added: "She was only meant to be in Darlington for a year but she never went back after that.

"She’s been a midwife for 40 years and delivered her own grandchildren.

"She worked at the hospital in Darlington for such a long time and she's done so much there. It’s been massive to her and such a big part of her life.

"She really would do anything for anybody."