It was a case of ‘Don’t Call the Midwife’ after two of Preston’s longest-serving have closed the curtain on a combined 80 years in the health service.
Janet Edwards and Sue Burt, thought to be the UK’s first midwives specialising in breastfeeding, both announced their retirement over Christmas after running parallel lives since they studied at the same university.
“We’ve delivered a lot of babies in our time - and helped a lot of mums to persevere with breastfeeding,” said Janet.
“We’ve both loved it. But all good things come to an end and 63 is quite old to be a midwife these days.”
Janet, from Longton, and Sue who lives in Fulwood, made history 28 years ago when they pioneered a new specialist role in infant feeding following an initiative by former Health Secretary Edwina Curry to improve breastfeeding rates nationally. They set another record when they became the first at sister level in Preston to job-share.
“We’ve seen such a lot of changes over the past 40 years,” said Janet. “It was almost ‘Call The Midwife’ days when we started and now it’s such a hi-tec area.
“Sue and I have worked so closely together for 40 years that it is almost like we’ve been one person. It’s a good job we get on well together.
“When we met as midwives we realised we’d been at Liverpool University at the same time. So we go back such a long way.
“We job-shared at first because we had families and then we ended up job-sharing later on.
“Getting a job-share was unheard of those days, especially at sister level. Now it’s quite commonplace.
“We’re both going to miss the job, but it’s time to get on with other things.”