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Gemma receiving her award from Kate Brintworth, Chief Midwifery Officer for England

Gemma Sayer, Bereavement Support Midwife at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, has been announced as the winner of this year’s Elaine Thorp Award for Bereavement Care from Sands, the UK’s leading baby loss charity. The award recognises the vital work of midwives, nurses and health professionals in caring for parents and families affected by pregnancy loss or the death of their baby.

Gemma was one of two midwives from Airedale Hospital to be shortlisted for the award. She was joined by fellow Midwife Bev Beaumont, both of whom were nominated by bereaved parents for the care and support they received following their pregnancy or baby loss.

Gemma started in the Trust as a Healthcare Assistant and qualified as a midwife in 2013. She is currently working as a Bereavement Support Midwife at the hospital and was nominated by a parent whose baby was stillborn in 2020.

Gemma says of her win,

“One year after qualifying as a midwife, I looked after my first bereaved family and I just knew that that’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to continue to look after these families.

“It’s sad that I’m having to do this job, but I just feel so privileged to be in their lives, to give them support, and feel like I’ve made a difference.”

Vicky Brooksbank, Deputy Head of Midwifery at Airedale Hospital, adds:

“We are so proud of Gemma’s achievement in winning the Elaine Thorp Award, this is a worthy recognition of Gemma’s dedication and hard work supporting bereaved families. To have both of our Bereavement Support Midwives nominated for such a prestigious award is a real accolade for Airedale.”

Sands’ Chief Executive, Clea Harmer, said of Gemma’s win:

“We received more than one hundred nominations for the Elaine Thorp Award but Gemma truly stood out through her dedication to helping all those parents she cares for begin to rebuild their lives, and ensuring their baby’s memory is at the heart of everything she does.  Good care can’t take away the pain of the death of a baby but can help parents through this devastating time.”

Sands is the UK’s leading baby loss charity which works to save babies’ lives and ensure that anyone affected by baby loss gets the support and care they need.  Its Elaine Thorp Award for Bereavement Care allows bereaved parents and other family members to nominate any health care professional who was involved in their care of the care of someone they know, following pregnancy loss of the death of a baby.