Farming family the Simpsons, of Arrad Foot, made it a family affair when they took up an invitation to join other supporters of the Bayb’s Maternity Appeal for a look around Furness General Hospital’s new £12m maternity unit – the South Lakes Birth Centre.

Stuart and Jill Simpson brought along daughters Katie (19), Hayley (16), Courtney (nine), Jodie (eight) and one-year-old Alfie, much to the delight of appeal co-ordinator Heidi Bowron, who explained:

“A lot of the items being funded by the Bayb’s appeal are about making the new unit more family friendly so it was great the Simpsons came together.
“Through the appeal, we have been able to provide partner beds and a less clinical décor to make the experience of coming into the unit more homely and less intimidating.”

Thanking our appeal supporters

The Simpsons, whose barn dance, held in their sheep shed last summer, raised almost £7,000 for the appeal, were among approximately 40 supporters to be invited to the special open event and thank you buffet. Others there included members of Furness Lions and charity HEFF (Hospital Equipment Fund for Furness), ladies from Roose Townswomen’s Evening Guild and Barrow resident Mr John Herrmann, who started the appeal’s fundraising by bidding £450 for a brick that became a cornerstone of the new build and which is dedicated to the memory of his late brother, Christopher Herrmann, of Dalton.

On hand to show guests around were midwives and other staff, who will work in the unit, including Sascha Wells, Director of Midwifery, Gynaecology and Obstetrics for its managers, the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

The impact of your donations

Sascha brought her own daughter, Imogen Munro, to have a tour of the new unit. Imogen cut the first sod at the start of the unit’s build with a special spade back in September 2016. Sascha was able to show Imogen and other visitors, including Paula Richardson, the Trust’s Head of Charity and Fundraising, the additional training and safety features the Bayb’s Maternity Appeal has funded such as the wall-mounted resusciatires in all the unit’s 14 birthing suites for if baby needs help breathing when first born and the SimMom and her child.

The SimMom and simulation baby are models with the touch of real skin that are computer controlled. They can be programmed to have a simple delivery or a complicated one, their bodies reacting in exactly the same way as the human body. SimMom has been bought by the appeal as a continuous training tool for the multi-disciplinary teams that will work in the new unit.

Besides the supporters’ open day event, the unit also hosted special preview events over the same weekend for staff, stakeholders and members of the public. Over the weekend, over 230 local people came along to tour the new unit.

Sascha Wells, Director of Midwifery, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, UHMBT, said:

“We are so pleased that some of our amazing fundraisers took the time to tour the new unit and see first-hand what their hard work and dedication will mean for staff, women, families and the local community. We can’t thank each and every one of them enough for supporting the appeal and our new unit – it really will make a huge difference to local women and families.”

Get involved with the appeal

Contact Heidi Bowron in our Barrow office to get involved with fundraising for the appeal –  call 01229 404473 or email

Make a donation online.

Find out more about our fundraising events.