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Bristol midwife wins award for bereavement care

Last updated: 26/06/2024

Julie is standing outside on a sunny day. She is wearing a black and white patterned dress and is holding her award.

Julie Wills, a midwife working in community clinics and at St Michael’s Hospital, has been announced as this year’s recipient of the Elaine Thorp Award for Bereavement by the Sands charity.

The Elaine Thorp Award for Bereavement Care aims to recognise the vital work done by midwives, nurses, and other health professionals to care for parents affected by pregnancy loss or the death of their baby.

Julie was nominated by two family members in her care; bereaved mum Natalie and grandparent, Julie. When writing the nomination, Natalie described how midwife Julie “understood our needs immediately and adapted her care to suit us. She referred to us as ‘mum and dad’ when talking about us, as she knew and appreciated that one of my heartbreaks was that I felt we would no longer be parents, and she was quick to dismiss this and say that we would always be this baby’s parents no matter what.”

Julie said: “I was humbled and honoured just to be nominated for the award, especially when you read the stories from the other nominees.

“When my name was called I felt overwhelmed and very emotional and what made it more special was seeing the family that had nominated me stand and cheer, as I received the award. I will never forget our story and will be forever thankful for their appreciation.

“Also I must thank the SANDS committee for choosing me from the other nominations and show appreciation for an emotional, however awe-inspiring day.”

Starting out as a healthcare assistant before qualifying as a midwife, Julie knew three hours into her first shift she wanted to be a midwife.

Julie said: “I will always treasure the relationship that I have built with our women and their families through the joy and the pain.”

Congratulations Julie on your well-deserved award!

Sands is the UK’s leading baby loss charity, providing families and NHS professionals with a range of support after a bereavement. Through the Elaine Thorp award, Sands annually recognises NHS staff across the UK who have provided heartfelt support and care throughout these difficult periods for parents.

You can find out more about the origins of the Elaine Thorp award and previous winners here: The Elaine Thorp Award for Bereavement Care | Sands - Saving babies' lives. Supporting bereaved families. Furthermore, if you, or someone you know, have been affected by the death of a baby before, during or after birth you can find out more about the support that Sands provides here: Support for you | Sands - Saving babies' lives. Supporting bereaved families.