The Iolanthe Midwifery Trust (IMT) quietly celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013 and the present trustees had – along with a glass of champagne and piece of cake! – a moment of reflection about the people who had the vision to set the charity up.
Our website www.iolanthe.org tells the story of how the charity was established and the link with the Iolanthe opera, written by Gilbert & Sullivan in the early 1880s. The group of founder trustees were working 100 years after this date; midwifery still did not have a strong profile as a profession and midwives rarely worked with full autonomy.
We’ve had occasion to think about these early days when recently saying goodbye to long-standing and valued trustees like Luke Zander and Jean Davies, when they stepped down, and also – the previous year – to James Watt who had been one of the founders: as a solicitor he provided essential advice and guidance while the charity established itself.
Another loss of a link with the past was the death last year of Mollie Fyfe, widow of obstetrician Sandy Fyfe, who had been another of the founder trustees. Mollie, herself a former health professional as she was a radiographer before her marriage and worked in Liverpool during the blitz of World War II, was always a warm supporter of IMT, and after her death aged 94, we discovered she had left the charity a generous legacy.
Changes have been gradually made in the Board of Trustees, and now midwives are in the majority, reflecting the status of a mature profession that carries out its own research and education, while welcoming partnership working with other disciplines where appropriate. We believe IMT has played its part in enabling hundreds of midwives to advance their careers, undertake research, complete higher degrees and in a variety of ways contribute to midwifery being recognised as a powerful force among the health care professions and high on the UK’s political agenda.
The funds provided by Mollie’s legacy have immediately been put to good use. The website is updated to improve its look and user-friendliness, and the 2014 awards, for which applications may now be made, offer more money to help midwives give quality care to mothers and babies.
The Iolanthe Midwifery Trust’s annual awards are:
We’re delighted to be launching a completely new award in partnership with the Royal College of Midwives:
Among the reports we have received from award winners in 2013, was that of student midwife Cecilia Leslie (pictured), from Edinburgh, who visited Brazil, spending time in the favelas (shanty towns) of Sao Paulo. Cecilia commented ‘This experience will forever influence my practice as a student and a midwife and will impact on the care I provide to women and their families. I cannot thank the Iolanthe trust and MIDIRS enough for facilitating this placement.’
Don’t miss the chance to get an experience like Cecilia’s – or any other in the UK or elsewhere – that changes your life and career.
For further information and application forms, visit www.iolanthe.org
Closing date for applications: Friday 31st JANUARY 2014