National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF)
NMSF is Jake's Charity
News and Events
News and Events

Watford Ladies FC Support NMSF

   Photo: Andrew Waller

Hornets Support Local Charity on Sunday
Women's Premier League team, Watford Ladies FC, known as the Golden Girls, continue to support great causes this season, and will be proud to represent NMSF on Sunday as they face London Bees in their final Continental Tyres Cup Group match.

The game against the London Bees takes place on Sunday 3rd December, kick off 2pm at The Hive, Camrose Ave, London HA8 6AG

Watford Ladies FC Ladies are proud to have helped raise over £300 for local causes so far this season, by working with a different charity at every home match and select away games.

For more information please visit 

New research confirms that the risk of stillbirth is doubled if women go to sleep on their backs in the third trimester

#SleepOnSide campaign 
-        The Midlands and North of England Stillbirth Study (MiNESS), published today in BJOG: An International Journal  of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is the largest study of maternal sleep position and risk of stillbirth.

-        The study was funded by Action Medical Research, Cure Kids, Sands and Tommy’s

-        The increased risk associated with women going to sleep on their back has now been demonstrated consistently by four studies in women of different ethnicities and in different countries.

-        If all pregnant women in the UK went to sleep on their side in the third trimester, MiNESS estimates a 3.7% decrease in stillbirth, saving around 130 babies’ lives a year.

-        Internationally, this advice has the potential to save up to 100,000 babies a year.

-        A public health campaign, the Sleep On Side campaign, led by the charity Tommy’s to educate women about the risk of going to sleep on their back in late pregnancy, also launches today.

-        Around 1 in 225 pregnancies in the UK end in stillbirth.

The Midlands and North of England Stillbirth Study (MiNESS) found that women who go to sleep in the supine (lying on the back) position have a 2.3-fold increased risk of late stillbirth (after 28 weeks’ gestation) compared with women who go to sleep on their side.

Led by Professor Alexander Heazell, Clinical Director at the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, MiNESS is the largest study to examine maternal sleep and late stillbirth. It looked into 291 pregnancies that ended in stillbirth and 735 women who had a live birth. It confirms findings from earlier studies in New Zealand and Australia that, in the third trimester (after 28 weeks of pregnancy), pregnant women who go to sleep on their back are more likely to have a stillbirth.

Although researchers cannot say for certain why the risk is increased, there are several theories. In the third trimester, when the woman is lying on her back, the combined weight of baby and uterus (womb) puts pressure on the main blood vessels that supply the uterus, and this can restrict blood flow/oxygen to the baby. Other possible explanations include disturbed breathing during sleep, which is worse when a woman sleeps on her back and in overweight or obese women, who also have an increased risk of stillbirth.

The advice to pregnant women is to go to sleep on their side for any episode of sleep in the third trimester, including:

·       going to sleep at night

·       returning to sleep after any night wakenings

·       day time naps

As the going-to-sleep position is the one held longest during the night, women should not to be concerned if they wake up on their back, but should simply roll back onto their side.

The MiNESS study did not find a difference in risk between sleeping on the right or left side. One of the previous studies did show that sleeping on the right increased the risk, but as this was not found in the other three studies, the Tommy’s Sleep On Side campaign recommends that women can go to sleep on either side.

Professor Heazell says: “Around 11 babies are stillborn every day in the UK. Stillbirth is devastating, with long-lasting effects on bereaved parents. Parents want to know why their baby has died, whether it might happen again if they try for another baby and what they can do to avoid further stillbirth.”

At the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre we work to identify what we call ‘modifiable risk factors’ for stillbirth. These risk factors are things in day-to-day life that increase expectant mothers’ chances of having a stillborn baby that, importantly, the women have the power to alter, either alone or with medical help.”

We believe that identifying, and avoiding, risk factors that are strongly associated with stillbirth will reduce the number of babies who are stillborn. The MiNESS results have implications as they indicate that if women go to sleep on their side while pregnant rather than on their back there could be 3.7% reduction in stillbirth.”

The four charities who funded the research have put out a joint statement: “This research and campaign was only made possible with funding from our four charities, which are supported by parents who have experienced stillbirth. We hope that this information will help parents and reduce the number of babies who are stillborn each day” Action Medical Research, Curekids, Sands and Tommy’s.

Mr Edward Morris, vice president for clinical quality at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: 
“This is an important study which adds to the growing body of evidence that sleep position in late pregnancy is a modifiable risk factor for stillbirth. This new research is extremely welcome as a significant number of stillbirths remain unexplained, particularly those in late pregnancy. The impact of stillbirth on parents and professionals is devastating and the RCOG is committed to working collaboratively on research, audit and training for healthcare professionals in order to achieve a substantial reduction in the UK stillbirth rate.”

Tips for going to sleep on your side in the last three months of pregnancy

·       Put a pillow or pillows behind your back to encourage side-sleeping.

·       If you wake during the night, check your position and go back to sleep on your side.

·       Pay the same attention to sleep position during the day as you would during the night.

·       If you wake on your back during the night, don’t worry, just roll onto your side.

The Sleep On Side campaign animation can be viewed here:

Jake's Midwives Scheme Apply For Aviva Community Funding

Small things can make a big difference
All over the country, local community projects are using ordinary objects to do extraordinary things. From a gardening trowel to a football, any thing can mean everything when it comes to improving local lives through a community project. And that's what the Aviva Community Fund is all about - helping communities make a big difference through small changes.

NMSF has applied to the Aviva Community Fund to help improve bereavement care through their Jake’s Midwives scheme. There are now 11 designated Jake’s Midwives across the UK. This was as a direct result of funding from Jake’s Scholarship through NMSF. We are continuing to support this project through new funding opportunities such as the Aviva Community Fund as we take the project into local NHS Trusts. Our ambition is that every NHS Maternity Unit has a qualified Jake’s Midwife as an essential part of the team. Every time a family loses their much-wanted baby it is tragic. Families say that at this time high quality support can make an enormous difference to them. It is absolutely essential that such support is available to every family. 
Now this year's voting is open, it's your turn to get behind these worthy causes and show your support.
Please vote here for Jake’s Midwives:

NMSF Caring Week 2017 - Bigger and Better!

NMSF Caring Week is bigger and better this year. Following a successful ‘pilot’ for Caring Week with Oaklands School in 2016, we are delighted to announce that we are extending activities across the Country. 
National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF), also known as Jake’s Charity, helps to keep maternity services, safe, accessible and well resourced. It also ensures that parents have all the relevant information at the right time. As a way to raise awareness of the excellent work of midwives and obstetricians, we introduced Caring Week, to highlight the importance of the best possible care and its positive impact.This year, NMSF Caring Week will run from the 29th October to 4th November. Across that week we are asking supporters to suggest and carry out ‘Caring Activities’ for which the children (and parents) will be sponsored. Activities can range from, helping an elderly neighbour, helping with the gardening, baking for the family, walking a dog, taking out the rubbish - anything that is caring and thoughtfulThe children will also have the opportunity to create drawings, paintings, sketches and/or a written paragraph of favourite childhood memories. These will be displayed by the school and the best examples will be awarded a prize and feature in the second edition of the Little Book of Happy Memories. The book will act as a  permanent record for Caring Week and we will be asking parents to contribute their happy childhood memories. We would be extremely grateful if you'd like to take part in NMSF Caring Week 2017.

Download your NMSF Caring Week Activity Pack

To donate and support NMSF Caring Week, please visit

NMSF Prize Giving - Oaklands Primary School

L to R: Andrew Canter (NMSF Chairman), Clare Luther (Author)        L to R: The Children with their prize certificates with Rachel Canter (NMSF CEO), Clare Luther reading her happy memory, Andrew with a parent looking through the 'Little Book'

The children from Oaklands Primary School (Welwyn) created drawings of their favourite childhood memories for NMSF's Little Book of Happy Memories for which each ‘Year winner’ was awarded a prize. NMSF Chairman, Andrew Canter and leading Children’s Author Clare Luther presented them at a ceremony that took place at the School.

The winning drawings are featured in the book alongside contributions from the local community, NMSF Patrons, local MP, the Rt Hon. Grant Shapps, Professor Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives, Sir Cyril Chantler and several well-known individuals from, entertainment and sport.

Julie Petitt, Headteacher of Oaklands Primary School said: “It was an absolute privilege to support a charity so close to the hearts of one of our own Oaklands' families. The work of Andrew and Rachel Canter, to promote better outcomes for maternity care in the future, is inspirational and they are great role models for the children at Oaklands. The children thoroughly enjoyed raising money during ‘Caring Week’ and we look forward to reading the Little Book of Happy Memories and to continuing to support the charity.”

Clare Luther said: "To be so closely involved with Jake's Charity over the past few months has been a joy. Maria and I have loved creating something for The Little Book of Happy Memories and hope that all the hard work from the Canter family and the children at Oaklands School helps to raise a bigger awareness and more funds for National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF) and maternity care - a heartfelt and personal cause."

Order your copy of NMSF's Little Book of Happy Memories here in paperback - Kindle Edition available here

Photos courtesy of Claire Frances Photography

Press Coverage: Read the Welwyn Hatfield Times article here

NMSF's 'Little Book of Happy Memories' Now Available 

A collection of heartwarming, happy childhood memories featuring well known public figures from the world of entertainment, sport, politics, healthcare and business. To ensure there was a permanent record for 'Caring Week', National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF) has produced our 'Little Book of Happy Memories'. The children from Oaklands Primary School in Welwyn, created drawings, paintings, sketches of their favourite childhood memories – each 'Year Winner' is featured within the 'Little Book'. NMSF (also known as Jake's Charity) launched 'Caring Week' in partnership with our local school, Oaklands Primary in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, where our three children, Ruby, Mia and Theo attend. It ran from Saturday 29th October to Friday 4th November 2016 to coincide with National Maternity Day (29th Oct), marking the anniversary of Jake Canter's stillbirth. The whole school took part in ‘Caring Activities’ for which the children and parents were sponsored. This was a great success and there are plans to replicate this nationally and encourage more schools to get involved. We hope you enjoy all of the happy memories. 

Thank you to everyone that contributed to our 'Little Book' which is now available on Amazon. 

Copies of the Little Book of Happy Memories can be ordered here

Natasha Kaplinsky Becomes NMSF Patron

Natasha Kaplinsky OBE has agreed to take on the role of Patron of the national maternity charity

Natasha Kaplinsky, recently appointed an OBE, is one of the UK’s best-known broadcasters. She has presented the news for Sky News, BBC News, Channel 5 and ITV.
As a hardworking and dedicated campaigner, Natasha has been a valued supporter of National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF), mainly behind the scenes. She has now decided to publicly announce her support by becoming a Patron of the national maternity charity. Natasha has a great passion for maternity services and has presented the annual Royal College of Midwives (RCM) annual awards on several occasions.

An important part of this is training and development for midwives. This includes funding for Jake’s Scholarship that results in an award-winning midwife becoming a trained bereavement counselor and being designated as one of Jake’s Midwives. There are currently 11 Jake’s Midwives across the UK.
The Charity’s ambition is that every NHS Maternity Unit has a qualified Jake’s Midwife as an essential part of the team.

Andrew Canter, Chairman of NMSF said: “We are delighted to welcome Natasha as a Patron of the Charity. To have someone of her stature and experience in helping to achieve our objectives is amazing. Her enthusiasm for maternity care is infectious and her high-profile work in campaigning and fundraising will be invaluable to us. We are incredibly excited to be working with her and look forward to further significant developments for NMSF.”

Natasha Kaplinsky, said: “I have been really impressed by NMSF’s great work to help improve maternity care over the past few years through my involvement with the RCM Awards. They have shown that by recognising the incredible work of midwives and awarding them a scholarship in the challenging
area of bereavement care makes such a positive difference to parents and their families. I am looking forward to being part of their journey and helping them as a proud Patron of the charity.”

Still Loved Film - The Truth About Dealing With Stillbirth


A new feature length, critically acclaimed documentary, Still Loved, explores the complexity and reality for families surviving baby loss. Giving an unexpected voice to bereaved fathers, who speak candidly for the first time providing an additional perspective to that offered by mothers, grandparents and siblings. This is a brave, inclusive and ultimately life affirming film, for anyone that has ever, or will ever, lose someone they love.

★★★★   'Remarkable Candour'  The Guardian  

Watch the 

★★★★★  'Vital viewing'  Vulture Hound  

The full film is available pay per view on Vimeo

'Devastatingly accurate. Pulls no punches'  
The Lancet 

Coming soon
You will be able to organise your own pop-up screening with 
Dogwoof for any group or event and DVD's will be available within the next few weeks. 

To find out more about Still Loved please visit the webiste 
Follow Still Loved on Facebook
Follow Still Loved on Twitter

NMSF In The News: Why do 2,000 babies die needlessly during childbirth every year in the UK?

NMSF, CEO, Rachel Canter
Read the full
article in the Telegraph Magazine by leading journalist, Mary Riddell and why NMSF are behind the new proposed Rapid Resolution and Redress (RRR) scheme

Slingsby 'Gin Tasting' Evening - A Great Success


We were delighted with the recent 'Gin Tasting' evening organised by NMSF Patron, Jo Watt and Frances Hill who hosted the event. The Gin in question was Slingsby, an Artesian brand, based in Harrogate “that does things differently, thinks differently and has a different vision to others.” The evening went with a ‘fizz’ and an amazing £615.00 was raised for NMSF, which is amazing. 

We are truly grateful to all those who attended and gave so generously (hopefully they can actually remember!)

If you would like to add to this then please do visit our Justgiving page

Jake's Midwife Graduates With Commendation

Hilary Patterson, Bereavement Midwife/Jake's Midwife at the Graduation Ceremony, Queen's University, Belfast

Hilary Patterson, a Bereavement Midwife from the Maternity Unit in Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, Belfast has graduated in MSc, with commendation, in Applied Social Studies, Systemic Practice from Queen’s University, Belfast on 9th December. Hilary won the coveted, NMSF Award for Excellence in Bereavement Care in 2012 and was designated as one of Jake’s Midwives for her outstanding work as Northern Ireland’s first Bereavement Support Midwife. The learning she has gained from the 3-year course funded by Jake’s Scholarship, in the Masters of Applied Social Science (family and systemic), has been invaluable for the incredible care given to bereaved families as a Bereavement Midwife in the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust, Belfast. The learning greatly enhances her work with parents to explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other’s experiences of grief and build on strengths, facilitating family grieving and family support.

Hilary said: “I am so grateful to the National Maternity Support Foundation for the generous [Jake’s Scholarship] funding of the Royal College Midwives award 2012 Supporting Training and Rewarding Excellence in Bereavement Care.”

NMSF Caring Week 2016 - A Great Success


NMSF, in partnership with the Oaklands Primary School supported 'Caring Week’ from Saturday 29th October through to Friday 4th November. During ‘Caring Week’ children carried out caring duties, or simple acts of kindness that helped and supported others. Activities included, reading with a sibling, helping with chores, baking cakes for elderly neighbours. In return, they collected sponsorship and raised an amazing £1,000 to further develop the work of the NMSF.

In addition to the sponsored event, the children will have the opportunity to design the front cover of the ‘Little Book of Happy Memories’, to be published in 2017. The contents of the book will be sourced, by the children, from leading figures and will relate to earliest childhood memories. Examples have already been provided by Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP and Professor Cathy Warwick CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives and NMSF lead patron. 

If you would like to contribute a happy childhood memory, please email it to

Please donate using this link

Jake's Journal Volume 3 Published


The latest edition of Jake's Journal (Volume 3) has now been published. Since 2010, Jake’s Scholarship funding has been awarded as part of the RCM Annual Midwifery Awards enabling midwives to receive training in bereavement care and being designated as  Jake’s Midwife. Volume 3 of Jake’s Journal continues to highlight the incredibly positive impact of Jake’s Scholarship. It serves as an important record of best practice that will continue to be shared across the NHS  and act as an inspiration to midwives everywhere.

Copies of Jake's Journal (Volume 3) can be ordered here

NMSF Partners With The King's Fund


The King's Fund Conference: Shaping the future of maternity care
3rd November 2016, The King's Fund, London, W1G 0AN, London
Designed in partnership with members of the National Maternity Review, this conference is timed to share learning on how the recommendations of the review are being implemented locally.

Bringing together national leaders and innovative local projects from across the country, this event provides a key opportunity to gain an update on progress made and find solutions to how we make care safer and give women greater control and more choices.

NMSF To Launch ‘National Caring Week’ With Local School


Following the success of National Maternity Day (NMD) that recognises excellence in midwifery care, NMSF, also known as Jake’s Charity, is launching National Caring Week to extend its NMD activities.

Launched on, 29th October 2010, to mark the anniversary of Jake Canter’s stillbirth in 2005, NMD was created to ensure a positive and lasting legacy. It is a day to celebrate the incredible work of maternity professionals often carried out under great stress and pressure. It also highlights the wonderful caring nature of midwives and

brings maternity staff together to remember the positive impact NMSF has made on maternity care through Jake’s Scholarship funding.


National Caring Week is initially being launched in partnership with NMSF founders, Rachel and Andrew Canter’s, local school, Oaklands Primary School in Welwyn, Hertfordshire where their three children, Ruby, Mia and Theo attend. It will run from

Saturday 29th October to Friday 4th November 2016.


Starting in July, the whole school will be asked to suggest ‘Caring Activities’ for which the children and parents would be sponsored. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of NMSF, so it is an important development that the charity wants to implement nationally on annual basis. 


To ensure there is a permanent record for National Caring Week, NMSF will be creating a ‘Little Book of Happy Memories’. During the Summer Holidays, the children and their parents will be asked to create drawings, paintings, sketches and/or a written paragraph of favourite childhood memories.


The Charity will also be seeking support and contributions from well-known individuals and celebrities.


If you would like to contribute to the 'Little Book of Happy Memories', then please email with your submission (i.e. paragraph, picture, drawing, etc)

You can donate to National Caring Week here

It's A Marathon, Not A Sprint!

Please dig deep for our final push to raise funds to celebrate Ian Levy's amazing time of 4:05:15 for this year Virgin Money London Marathon on behalf of NMSF. Thank you.

To donate please visit

Congratulations to Bev Rimmer, who completed the Virgin London Marathon 2016 in 5 hours 8 minutes yesterday for NMSF/Jake's Charity. Thank you for all your amazing support and we hope that anyone that hasn't donated might still be feeling generous…


What It Means To Be A Jake's Midwife

Hear from Sam Collinge, Jake's Midwife at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust about how positive the impact has been on the Maternity Unit

Dr Alexander Heazel (MBChB(Hons) PhD MRCOG) Supports NMSF

Dr Alexander Heazell (MBChB(Hons) PhD MRCOG), Senior Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics, says he's had the privilege of working with Jake's Charity since 2008. He goes on to say that perhaps the biggest impact has been the introduction of Jake's Midwives to promote the role of bereavement care.

NMSF At The RCM Midwifery Awards 2016

Since 2004, the RCM Annual Midwifery Awards have rewarded, celebrated and shared outstanding achievement in midwifery across the UK. They recognise the best new evidence-based practice projects and the best in team working. They discover outstanding individuals making a difference for women, families and the newborn. A true reflection of excellence in midwifery and are designed to:

• Promote best practice and world-class midwifery standards

• Showcase your practice innovations and ground-breaking initiatives

• Recognise individual and team excellence.

See the full list of this year's winners

NMSF Broadcast Live on BOB fm

NMSF Chairman, Andrew Canter broadcast live on BOB fm interactive breakfast show with Chris Hubbard and Bev Rimmer who is running the London Marathon for the charity

For the full article and audio of the interview, please visit here. If you'd like to support NMSF please sponsor Bev here. Thank you.

NMSF Announce Runner for Virgin Money London Marathon 2016

Bev Rimmer, an award winning broadcaster and journalist at BOB FM is set to represent NMSF in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon. Following a huge response from a recent feature on BOB FM’s website, we were contacted by Tracy Bullot, a runner from Stevenage Striders Running Club. It turned out that Tracy is a former Midwife and worked locally at the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City.

They were very interested in helping the charity and finding a runner for the Marathon. So they decided to hold a ballot amongst their members to select a representative. By an amazing coincidence, it was Bev’s name that was drawn out of the hat. We are so delighted that Bev has agreed to run for NMSF and will be setting up a fundraising page and holding events to raise funds.

We hope we can rely on your support.

Want A Place To Run In This Year's Virgin Money London Marathon?

NMSF has secured a place for the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. If you would like to raise funds for NMSF, then please contact us - details below.

As featured on BOB FM. Read full article here

If you would like to raise funds for NMSF, then please contact Andrew Canter

NMSF part of the Research Priorities for Stillbirth: Process Overview and Results from the UK Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership

Earlier this year NMSF was part of the Stakeholder Group for the James Lind Alliance (JLA), Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership. The group determined the top unanswered questions relating to stillbirth. There were 361 questions obtained from 1,275 responses. Systematic literature searches found that 61 of these questions were already
answered; 300 unanswered questions were prioritised by an online questionnaire and the top 11 priorities agreed at a multidisciplinary workshop. There was some agreement with previous research priorities identified by professionals alone but additional emphasis is given to research questions regarding the content and delivery of health services including optimal bereavement care, maternity care in subsequent pregnancies, and the role of mothers in responding to symptoms and signs relating to impending stillbirth.

The Paper is available to download from the Wiley Online Library here

For more information about the Stillbirth PSP, please see here

NMSF 10-YEARS: Feature Article in Welwyn Hatfield Times to Mark Charity's Milestone

Read the full article here

NMSF Bond Place Available for Virgin Money London Marathon 2016

NMSF has secured a Bond place for the prestigious 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. If you would like to raise funds for NMSF, then please let us know.

If you would like to raise funds for NMSF, then please contact Andrew Canter

NMSF Visits RCM Award and Jake's Scholarship Winner

NMSF Chairman, Andrew Canter visited Sam Collinge at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust to present her Jake's Midwife Certificate and Badge. It was also an opportunity to meet the rest of the team and take a tour of the Maternity Unit. Huge congratulations to Sam for her outstanding entry and we look forward to seeing the results of how the funding from Jake's Scholarship will impact positively and make a material difference to the care throughout the maternity unit. 

NMSF 10-Year Anniversary Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

We were very excited to attend he first NMSF Concert at the iconic Royal Festival Hall on London's Southbank. This free event took place in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and celebrates our 10-year anniversary. It was part of the Friday Tonic with Mastercard series. We are asking people to donate to help achieve our goals, with 100% of proceeds going to NMSF. The Royal Academy of Music Fellows, the Aurora Trio performed on the 1st May, in the Queen Elizabeth Hall Front Room. They presented a diverse programme of music for flute, viola and harp.  We are extremely grateful to Emma, Heather and particularly Joe of Aurora Trio who organised this concert. We were delighted with the new arrangement of ‘Jake's Theme’, which was originally composed by our nephew Joe Bronstein. We would also like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Neill Quinton at the Southbank Centre for making this happen.

If you would like to donate please click here or visit it only takes a moment and makes such a difference. Thank you.


NMSF Awards Jake's Scholarship for 2015

It was another amazing day at this year's annual RCM Midwifery Awards, celebrating and sharing outstanding achievements in midwifery across the UK. They recognise the best new evidence-based practice projects and the best in team working.  They discover outstanding individuals making a difference for women, families and the newborn. This year's winner of NMSF Award for Bereavement Care was Sam Collinge from University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust for her Forever Photos initiative. Congratulations to Sam for winning Jake's Scholarship funding and becoming one of Jake's Midwives. Also congratulations to our two runners-up, Sue Rucklidge (Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) and Christine Navin (University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust). 

L to R: Andrew Canter (NMSF Chairman), Sam Collinge, Prof Lesley Page (RCM President), Kate Silverton

Want an Adventure? Trek in China and Help NMSF

If you have ever wanted to do an exhilarating challenge for charity here is your chance. We are looking for adventurous volunteers to trek in China along part of The Great Wall - one of the wonders of the world and if you raise enough in sponsorship you will get to take part for free! Immerse yourself in tradition, history and ancient mythology and experience something others will only ever dream of. For those of you with a passion for culture, a sense of adventure and the desire to do something challenging for a great cause simply click here to register and we will send you a full information pack and everything you need to take part in the experience of a lifetime.

(N.B. NMSF events are run and organised by Skyline Events, 31 Corsica Street, London, N5 1JT)

NMSF Features in New 'Baby & You' Magazine


NMSF is supporting the 'Baby & You' magazine which is a guide for all new mums/parents backed by the RCOG, to help prepare for and alleviate any eventuality faced during the pregnancy and the baby’s first 12 months.

The content has been carefully selected to educate, inform and guide parents concerning all the issues that they will be facing, whether they are currently aware of them or not. This new issue is full of practical advice and information on the many aspects of increasing your family, including advice on what to eat, post-pregnancy exercise and looking at options for you to get back to work, as well as a month-by-month guide to your pregnancy.

The magazine will be made available to mothers/families by their obstetrician/midwife at either the 12 or 20 week ultrasound scan.

NMSF in The Sun newspaper (12th January 2015, page 9)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015

Sadly Ben has had to withdraw from this year's Virgin Money London Marathon due to injury. Ben trained very hard and we are very sorry for him, but on a brighter note he did manage to raise £805 for the London Half Marathon. On behalf of all of us at NMSF we thank Ben for all his efforts and wish him a speedy recovery.

You can still donate for the London Half Marathon which Ben has now completed at 

National Maternity Day Celebrates Midwives’ Incredible Work

The 29th October celebrates National Maternity Day (NMD) to highlight and recognise excellence in midwifery care and marks the anniversary of Jake Canter’s stillbirth on that day 9 years ago in 2005. It is a day to celebrate the incredible work of maternity professionals often carried out under great stress and pressure. 

Across the country M
idwives are united in ensuring the best possible experience for women and their families at a time when it is most needed. National Maternity Day has been established to showcase their unwavering dedication and duty of care, bringing together maternity staff to remember the positive impact that Jake has made on maternity care through NMSF’s Scholarship Programme.

Jake’s Scholarship, is awarded as part of the NMSF Award for Bereavement Care prize presented at the RCM’s Annual Midwifery Awards.

Andrew Canter, Chairman of NMSF said: “It is so rewarding to witness the positive impact that Jake’s Scholarship continues to have on those maternity units winning the annual prize. We hope it continues to encourage best practice across the health service and help to inspire midwives everywhere.”

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives said: "I wholeheartedly offer my own and the RCM’s support for National Maternity Day and the work of the NMSF. 

“Midwives who are awarded Jake’s Scholarship’s are doing wonderful work that is improving the support and care for parents who suffer this terrible tragedy. I encourage everyone to recognise this day and for midwives to enter for the NMSF Bereavement Care Award so that the best care can be recognised and emulated by midwives and their teams across the country.”

To support NMD please donate at

Media coverage for NMD - Welwyn Hatfield Times and the Nick Coffer Show on BBC Three Counties Radio:-


NMSF+certainty and Loss In Maternity and Neonatal Care Conference


NMSF Chairman, Andrew Canter attended the recent Uncertainty and Loss in Maternity and Neonatal Care Conference in London. NMSF helped to fund the online Bereavement Care Network. It was an excellent and full agenda with new research from the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford and University of West Scotland. 

NMSF Featured on BBC Radio 4 'World at One' Programme

Rachel Canter, NMSF, CEO featured on BBC Radio 4 World at One today (11th July) to comment on the data obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act showed 62 trusts out of 121 respondents - or 51% - temporarily closed units in 2013.

You can listen to a recording of the full interview here

Read the full story here

Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership (PSP): Tell Us Your Priorities for Research and Care

As a partner we fully support the Stillbirth PSP, which aims to help parents and clinicians work together to agree which are the most important questions which still need to be answered by stillbirth research. We hope this will help direct research and address existing gaps in understanding stillbirth for both parents and those who care for them.

The idea of a Stillbirth PSP was originally explored as part of a programme of work investigating whether increased awareness and better management of reduced fetal movements was able to reduce stillbirth. Following a preliminary meeting of stakeholders held in Manchester in December 2012, it was decided to broaden the scope of the PSP
to late stillbirth.

The readiness questionnaire was submitted to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC) in April 2013 and the PSP topic was accepted subject to funding which was confirmed in Autumn 2013, enabling the steering group to meet in November 2013.Since then the steering group have developed and piloted the survey to identify unanswered questions in stillbirth and engaged over 20 additional stakeholder organisations.

If you’ve been affected, help us continue with this work by giving us your unanswered questions at

Meeting with Lead Patron, Prof Cathy Warwick CBE

NMSF Chairman, Andrew Canter met with Professor Cathy Warwick CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives and Lead Patron to NMSF. Andrew said, "We had a full and frank discussion about the issues surrounding maternity care, including the acute shortage of Midwives and extra pressure placed on units as a result of the shortages. We also discussed our recent visit to Hywel Dda Health Board and the potential positive impact that Jake's Scholarship will have on the unit in light of the forthcoming reconfiguration." The meeting also covered the overall positive impact and 'ripple effect' that the 10 Jake's Midwives have had on their respective units  in enabling them to disseminate training and essential information to colleagues.

NMSF Visits Latest Jake's Midwives from Hywel Dda Health Board

NMSF Chairman, Andrew Canter visited the latest of Jake's Midwives, Stephanie Williams (above left) and Heulwen Harden (above right) at Glangwili General Hospital in Camarthenshire, Wales. It is the main Maternity Unit of the Hywel Dda University Health Board and home to the wnners of NMSF Award for Bereavement Care and Jake's Scholarship funding. After a full tour of the unit by County Head of Midwifery, Julie Jenkins we discussed the plans for the scholarship funding with Caroline Oakley, Director of Nursing and Midwifery. We will look forward to seeing the results of the funding and how it will impact positively for everyone using the the unit.  

Midwives Magazine Article: Award Winning Bereavement Care

Full article available here online or in Midwives Magazine Issue 2 here

Carmarthenshire Midwives Celebrate Award Win (Carmarthen Journal)

TWO midwives at Hywel Dda University Health Board have picked up a top UK’s midwifery prize at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Awards. Their winning entry was for their work to improve services for bereaved parents of stillborn babies. Heulwen Harden and Stephanie Williams won the National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF) Award for Bereavement Care and their ‘Loved and Lost Babies or Yellow Balloons’ projects. Both midwives win scholarship funds from the NMSF. Among the improvements introduced locally by the midwives is a specialised counselling service for bereaved parents to ensure they have the support they need while in hospital and at home.

Heulwen and Stephanie also worked with the hospital’s senior chaplain to organise a yearly ‘Loved and Lost Babies’ remembrance service. They have also organised charity events to raise funds to furnish a private room at the Board for bereaved parents and families. The pair are also taking their expertise beyond their Board, organising education events and support for midwives in other hospitals. There has been a great deal of positive feedback from families. The remembrance service has proven to be an invaluable source of comfort for the families involved. Julie Jenkins Carmarthenshire County Head of Midiwfery in Hywel Dda University Health Board said “I am really proud of the commitment and dedication that all the staff provide in this area of their work.

“Heulwen and Stephanie have been instrumental in developing the confidence and knowledge base of the staff in order to improve the experience of families at this time.”

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “To win an award is a real achievement. “Without midwives, their teams and colleagues pushing at the boundaries of practice we would not see the care they are able to give to women, babies and their families improve and move forward. “This is innovation in action which will help maternity services everywhere to deliver safer, better and continually improving care. “I congratulate Heulwen and Stephanie on this achievement and thank them and their colleagues for their dedication, skill and commitment.”

The award will provide funding from ‘Jake’s Scholarship’ to enable Heulwen and Stephanie to undergo further bereavement counselling. Once completed the midwives will be designated as ‘Jake’s Midwives’ named after Jake Canter who was stillborn in 2005. Jake was the son of NMSF founders Andrew and Rachel Canter.

Andrew visited the maternity unit at Glangwili Hospital last week to present to Heulwen and Stephanie with their winning cheque for £5,000.

He went on to say: “We are immensely proud to award Jake’s Scholarship to Heulwen and Stephanie for their incredible work in supporting bereaved parents.

“They have demonstrated exceptional skills in helping those families affected by the devastation of losing a baby and are a great credit to their health board.”

Read more:

New Jake's Midwives Awarded Prize for Bereavement Care

L to R: Rachel Canter, Chief Executive, NMSF, Cathy Warwick CBE, Chief Executive, RCM, Heulwen Harden, Stephanie Williams and Natasha Kaplinsky

The RCM Annual Midwifery Awards reward, celebrate and share outstanding achievement in midwifery across the UK. They recognise the best new evidence-based practice projects and the best in team working. They discover outstanding individuals making a difference for women, families and the newborn. The event which took place on 22nd January 2014 in the City of London was extremely well attended with representation from NHS Trusts across England, N.Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Once again it was an incredibly inspiring and emotional day. This year’s worthy winners of the NMSF Award for Bereavement Care were Heulwen Harden and Stephanie Williams from Hywel Dda Health Board in Wales.

For Press Release please click here

Their award winning entry entitled “Loved and Lost Babies or Yellow Balloons” showed the judges how Heulwen and Stephanie work tirelessly, with limited resources, to ensure that bereaved parents have the support they require while in hospital and at home. They have organised charity events to raise funds to furnish a private environment for families and worked with the hospital senior chaplain to coordinate a yearly remembrance service for loved and lost babies.

Using the funds from Jake’s Scholarship, they hope to share education and support to help foster confidence within the whole maternity team, as midwives who are not regularly involved with these tragic events often feel inadequate to care for families.

They also hope to enhance working relationships with the consultant obstetrician, mortuary staff and the registrar of births and deaths to ensure good communication and to help parents cope with their incredibly difficult situation.

We congratulate both, and as a result of their award Heulwen and Stephanie will now be known as Jake’s Midwives.

We also want to congratulate our shortlisted midwives, Emma Campbell from NHS Lothian and Tanneke Berwick and Enfys Rogers from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board for their excellent entries. We wish them every success with the incredible work they do to help families in this most challenging area of maternity care.


Click here for a full report on all the winners and for more photos of the day and a video of the NMSF Award presentation please visit 

NMSF Joins Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership Steering Group

Priority Setting Partnerships are a mechanism to arrive at the top ten research priorities for a given topic in the UK. They are facilitated by the James Lind Alliance, which is hosted by the National Institutes for Health Research. Priority Setting Partnerships bring patients, carers and clinicianstogether to identify and prioritise the top 10 'unanswered questions', relating to interventions, treatments or care that they agree are most important. These are then published and are available to researchers and funders so that the topics identified as most important are addressed. This information will help ensure that those who fund health research are aware of what matters to both patients and clinicians. Currently, other topics relating to maternity care include preterm birth and intrapartum (labour) care. More information about Priority Setting Partnerships can be found at The whole process will take approximately 18 months.

NMSF Meets New RCOG President

NMSF Chairman, Andrew Canter met with Dr David Richmond, the recently appointed new President of the RCOG. They discussed the main issues surrounding maternity care and shared dtails on the priorities for the College for the President's three year tenure. One development that came from the talks was the focus on stilbirth prevention and in particular, intrapartum incidents. It was discussed that although rare, these episodes can be avoided and should be added to the Never Events list published by the Department of Health.

National Maternity Day (29th October)

The 29th October celebrates National Maternity Day to highlight and recognise excellence in midwifery care and marks the anniversary of Jake Canter who was stillborn on that day in 2005. It is a day to celebrate the incredible work of maternity professionals often carried out under great stress and pressure. Following the success of last year’s “Cake Bake for Jake” it has been extended to all NHS Trust Maternity Units to mark the special day for midwives. The funds raised will help midwives to undergo training to help and support parents who have suffered the terrible loss of their baby. This brings together maternity staff to remember the positive impact that Jake has made on maternity care. The RCM is asking for people to make a donation for each cake to raise funds for the NMSF.

This year we are also marking the day with the launch of Jake’s Journal, which tells the story of the first of Jake’s Midwives and how the funding received from Jake’s Scholarship has been used to improve maternity care in two NHS Trusts. The scholarship is awarded as part of NMSF prize at the RCM’s Annual Midwifery Awards. Andrew Canter, Chairman of NMSF said: “We are delighted to see that the funding from Jake’s Scholarship has resulted in such a positive impact on maternity care. We truly believe that Jake’s Journal will become an important record of best practice that can be shared across the health service and act as an inspiration to midwives everywhere.”

To support National Maternity Day please donate here:- 100% of funds go towards Jake’s Scholarship programme.

Copies of Jake’s Journal can be requested by emailing

Meeting with NMSF, Lead Patron, Prof Cathy Warwick, CBE


Andrew Canter, Chairman, NMSF met with Lead Patron, Professor Cathy Warwick, CBE, Chief Executive of the RCM at there London HQ to discuss current maternity issues and update the progress of the charity. Many topics were on the agenda including, plans for National Maternity Day (29th October), Jake's Schloarship, research, fund raising and the general state of the Midwifery profession, which seems to be generally in pretty good health. We were joined in the meeting by Gail Johnson who gave some valuable insights into the latest developments in maternity care.

Rachel Canter Completes Prudential RideLondon100 for NMSF

Rachel Canter, co-Founder of NMSF completed the inaugural Prudential RideLondon100 cycle race in an incredible 6 hours 27 minutes. This was a magnificent performance and we are all proud of this amazing achievement. She told us that she passed Boris Johnson on the way (as did most people we understand!)

NMSF Visits John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford

Andrew Canter, Chairman, NMSF met with Kim Paul, Lead Bereavement Midwife/Counsellor at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. Kim leads a wonderful team of Midwives who do an incredible job in this challenging area of maternity care. It was a priviledge to meet them and find out about their amazing work for bereaved parents.

NMSF Congratulates the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Huge congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the safe arrival of their baby boy from everyone at NMSF. We are all delighted to welcome the Prince of Cambridge into the World.

Support NMSF as Rachel Rides 100 Miles In One Day 

Rachel Canter is taking part in the Ride London/Surrey 100 - yes 100 miles in one day!!!! Following the route the Olympians rode leaving from the Olympic Park, through the Surrey hills, tackling Box Hill and finishing on Pall Mall on Aug 4th for NMSF. So please can you sponsor Rachel at today, we'd be eternally grateful. Thank you for your continuing support.


NMSF Visits Jake's Midwife, Sharon Hurst at Darent Valley Hospital

NMSF Chairman, Andrew Canter visited Darent Valley Hospital to meet with NMSF award winner, Sharon Hurst, now designated one of Jake's Midwives. Those attending included, Susan Acott (Chief Executive of the NHS Trust), Debs McAllion (Head of Midwifery), Steff Wills (Midwife), Sharon Hurst (Jake's Midwife), Kerry Bardoe (Midwife), Kate King (Director of Nursing), Teresa & Craig Bertram (Parent Advocates). We were delighted to meet with the whole team and discussed the incredible work they do on a daily basis. It was fantastic to present Sharon with her well deserved award in the presence of the parents, Teresa & Craig, who have benefitted from the care and attention of Sharon and were the inspiration for their award winning entry.

NMSF Visits Great Western Hospital

NMSF Chairman, Andrew Canter visited Great Western Hospital in Swindon to meet with Rebecca King, Maternity & Paediatric Support Service. They provide support and bereavement counselling if appropriate during a hospital stay. They also undertake bereavement training for staff, providing resources, including books, videos and resource packs. Along with her colleague Helen Pepler they do an incredible job in this highly challenging area of maternity care.

RCM Midwifery Awards 2013 


L to R: Emma Burrows (COO, NMSF), Rachel Canter (CEO, NMSF), Andrew Canter (Chairman, NMSF), Darent Valley Hospital Midwifery Team 


We are delighted to announce the NMSF Award Supporting Training and Rewarding Excellence in Bereavement Care was awarded to Sharon Hurst from Darent Valley Hospital. At a fantastic ceremony at The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London many of the leading Midwifery professionals gathered to reward the outstanding achievements of the amazing Midwives from across the country. Presented by Natasha Kaplinski and Professor Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the RCM, we are proud to be a sponsor of this great event. The award of Jake's Scholarship will enable Sharon and her team continue and improve her incredible work in the challenging area of bereavement care. Sharon is now designated as one of Jake's Midwives. We want to congratulate her and all those shortlisted for the NMSF Award.

Midwives ‘Bake a Cake for Jake’ for National Maternity Day

The 29th October celebrates National Maternity Day to highlight and recognise excellence in midwifery care. It was established by Andrew and Rachel Canter who founded the charity the National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF) to ensure their son Jake left a positive legacy following his stillbirth on that day in 2005.

It is a day to remember the incredible work of maternity professionals often carried out under great stress and pressure. This year NMSF is asking midwives across the country to hold a “Cake bake for Jake” to mark the day. The funds raised will go to midwives to undergo training to help and support parents who - like Andrew and Rachel - have suffered the terrible loss of their baby. 

The aim is to bring maternity staff together to remember the positive impact on maternity that Jake has made despite the tragic circumstances surrounding his stillbirth. The RCM is supporting the day and is asking for people to make a donation for each cake to raise funds for the NMSF.

Over the past year the NMSF has awarded ‘Jake’s Scholarship’ to a midwife in Northern Ireland. The funding was awarded as part of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) annual midwifery awards and will support the midwife to become a trained bereavement counselor and one of ‘Jake’s Midwives’.

Offering her support to National Maternity Day, Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, said: “This day has our whole-hearted support and we would encourage midwives to support it also. Although stillbirth rates are very low in the UK, we can all work to ensure that we do all we can to keep bringing the rate down.”

The Rt Hon Grant Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield added: “On National Maternity Day we should pay tribute to the National Maternity Support Foundation. I have seen at first hand the tremendous work they do to ensure that no baby dies unnecessarily through lack of medical assistance and to offer support and guidance to parents who have suffered the loss of a child at birth. Through their actions the NMSF are making a lasting impact on maternity care in this country and they deserve our heartfelt thanks.”

Andrew Canter, Chairman of NMSF said: “We are incredibly proud of our achievements in Jake’s memory. National Maternity Day is our opportunity to give credit to the wonderful work of midwives across the country. We will continue our work to improve maternity care in partnership with leading organisations to continue this important work for the overall benefit of others.”

Cheque Presentation for Recent Fundraising Challenge

We were delighted to receive the 'biggest cheque in the world' from Cathy Warwick and members of Team NMSF who completed the recent London to Paris cycle challenge.
Cathy Warwick, said; “I am delighted that we have been able to raise so much money for the NMSF. They are doing such good and important work supporting families who have suffered such a tragedy. I am looking forward to the next fundraising challenge.” It was a great opportunity to thank the lovely people at the RCM who raised an incredible amount to enable us to continue our important work and funding of Jake's Scholarship.

Meeting with Lead Patron, RCM's CEO, Cathy Warwick

We caught up with our Lead Patron and CEO of the RCM, Professor Cathy Warwick CBE recently to discuss the issues surrounding maternity services across the country. It was a lively session which also gave us the opportunity to meet the RCM's new President, Lesley Page who was extremely complimentary about NMSF and pleased with our progress. We set out our agenda for the next few months and discussed potential fundraising activity.

Feature on Rachel Achieving Her Goal (Welwyn Hatfield Times)

* NEW EVENT * Jubilympic Cycle Ride (completed)

Huge thanks to Imogen and Dan who cycled 150 miles over the 2nd and 3rd of June to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee and forthcoming Olympics. They have devised their own 'Jubilympics' route through the South Downs and Kent Wealds visiting icon landmarks on the way.

Day 1 - They start at Box Hill in Surrey, which will be the focus of the Olympic road race route. They then cycle down to the coast, past Gatwick airport which many olympians will travel to, through the South Downs and start the costal leg at Shoreham by Sea. From here they will cycle through Brighton and past its famous Piers and Royal Pavilion on past the white chalky cliffs of Newhaven and the famous Seven Sisters cliffs. After reaching Beachy Head (the highest chalk cliff in England) they have a nice downhill and end the day in Eastbourne.

Day 2 - They'll follow the coast to Hastings (of the royal battle fame) before heading inland and over the green steep hills and woodlands of the Wealds, ending the day at Royal Tunbridge Wells which seems quite apt. After getting the train back to Charing Cross station theres still a few miles and landmarks to tick off before arrivng back in Highbury.

If you would like to support Imogen and Dan please click here

Team NMSF "Go All The Way For Jake" to Paris by Bike

We are delighted to report that Team NMSF cyclists reached Paris after 300 miles and four gruelling days in saddle on Saturday 12th May. The epic journey began on the previous Wednesday in damp and windy conditions for the 95 mile ride from South London to the coast. After a reasonable ferry crossing, the team settled down for the night to rest. The next day's weather was even worse! However, they completed the 75 mile cycle in good time. Feeling somewhat jaded and saddle sore, the team were pleased that Day 3's weather was mainly bright sunshine for the 65 mile cross country leg of the journey. The final day they pushed on to finally arrive in Paris around 4pm local time. They rode together down the famous Champs-Élysées passing the Arc de Triomphe before ending their incredible journey under the Eiffel Tower.

Congratulations to all of Team NMSF, Rachel Canter, Lucy Wheeler, Rob Hanlon, Michael Foster, Cathy Warwick, Colin Beesley, Denise Linay, Breedagh Hughes, Paul Dawson-Hart, Jennifer Williams, Jody Falkner, Zoe Rocholl and Anne-Marie O'Neill.

Thank you to everyone who donated and supported the team and in particular to the RCM for their amazing fundraising efforts.

We are still receiving donations so will report the final figure shortly. You can still donate here , thank you. 

You can view the pictures here on Flickr 

Media Coverage for London to Paris Cycle Ride

For link to full article click here

RCM Bereavement Conference, Edinburgh, 17th May 2012

The RCM are hosting a Bereavement Conference in Edinburgh on the 17th May 2012 at the National Museum of Scotland. This will also be the launch of the RCM's Annual Midwifery Awards of which the NMSF is a proud sponsor. We will be speaking at the conference about Jake's Scholarship and how it is continuing to help imrpove maternity care. Details of the conference are as follows:-
Bereavement Conference
Date: Thursday 17th May 2012
Location: National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Aim: To provide practitioners with an opportunity to consider and address some of the many and varied challenges which are raised when a death occurs of either the neonate or more rarely the mother.
This event will provide delegates with;
  • An opportunity to network and share experiences with other professionals and parents
  • Knowledge, information and tools to meet some of the challenges when a neonatal death occurs
  • Motivation to use the evidence to change practice to improve the care for families
  • An understanding of post-mortem examination and pathology reports
  • A greater awareness of mental health issues and the impact on parents, families and care providers
For further details and to book a place download the flyer and registration form here or contact RCM Scotland on 0131 225 1633 or email

Improving Bereavement Care for Dad's

We have commissioned the University of Chester to undertake a new study into bereavement care for Fathers. At the present time there is very little information pertaining to fathers who have experienced the loss of their baby. The aim of the study is to explore the experiences of bereaved fathers who have lost a baby following a still birth or neonatal death up to six months, following delivery. The study will be conducted in two phases. The first will be via a questionnaire that can be requested here. The second will be through individual interviews at a later stage. The findings from the study will be part of my PhD thesis and will also be used within professional journal articles and conference presentations. The results will also be posted on the National Maternity Support Foundation website.

NMSF Chosen as Waitrose Charity of the Month

Every month the Welwyn Garden City branch donate £1000 between three local good causes that you choose.

How does it work?
At the checkout you'll receive a token, which you then place in the box of the good cause you'd most like to support. The more tokens a cause gets, the bigger the donation they receive. You can also nominate good causes to be considered for the scheme in the future. Just pick up a leaflet in store for more information. Please visit and support NMSF. Thank you. 

Two more Jake's Midwives appointed

We are delighted to announce the designation of two more Jake's Midwives. They were awarded on the recommendation of Sofia Mason, founder of the charity, Count The Kicks. Claire Cardu is senior midwife at the Royal Surrey County Hospital and Gail White, Midwife Ward Manager and bereavement specialist are now recognised as Jake's Midwives for their outstanding work and dedication in their respective roles at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, Surrey. Sofia said, “She made the worst, hardest, most painful days of our lives as bearable as she could. She was understanding, clear and most importantly, she was honest.”

Jake's Scholarship Awarded for 2012

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards recently took place in London, highlighting the dedication of Midwives and their teams around the country, who continue to work tirelessly to provide outstanding care for women and their families.

Presented by well known broadcaster Natasha Kaplinski, the ceremony was well attended and included senior clinicians, members of the Royal Colleges and health officials from England, Wales, Scotland and Norther Ireland.

Andrew Canter (NMSF Chairman), Prof Cathy Warwick CBE (NMSF Lead Patron), Hilary Patterson, Natasha Kaplinski

Hilary Patterson, a midwife at the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust won the National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF) Supporting Training and Rewarding Excellence in Bereavement Award. This was for her work setting up and developing a service to help parents who have lost their baby following miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or the loss of an older child throughout the bereavement process.

Recognising there was a need to help parents suffering this kind of loss, Hilary established the Bereavement Support Midwife post in December 2003; the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. The midwife in the post coordinates the care for parents from the moment the bad news is broken with continuing support in the hospital or at home. The award will provide Jake’s Scholarship funding enabling Hilary to do a Master’s Course in Counselling, adding to her experience and enhancing her expertise and the services for bereaved parents. Once completed, she will be designated one of Jake’s Midwives.  

"Go All The Way For Jake" - London2Paris Cycle Ride: 9th to 13th May 2012

If you have ever wanted to do an exhilarating challenge for charity here is your chance. National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF) are looking for adventurous volunteers to cycle from London to Paris between 9th-13th May 2012, connecting two of the world’s most chic cities on one of the best cycling routes in Europe! Cycling through beautiful English villages and into stunning rural France you’ll pass historical landmarks and famous battlefields from World War I until you reach Paris, undoubtedly one of the most magical places on earth. The sense of achievement you’ll experience will be one you’ll treasure forever. 

Our lead Patron Professor Cathy Warwick, CBE has recorded a video to launch the cycle challenge to mark National Maternity Day. Click here to view the video.

Support our challenge here

RCM Cycle Team of 10 fantastic supporters who will be taking part in next year's challenge. Find out more here and how you can donate

For those of you in search of the challenge of a lifetime simply complete the online form, alternatively you can email us with your details and we can send you a registration form.

Once we have your details, we will send you a full information pack and everything you need to take part in this fantastic event. An unforgettable experience awaits you.

This means everything to us, so thank you for helping to continue our important work to improve maternity care and make a real difference in memory of Jake Canter.

Another 'Jake's Midwife' Appointed

Nick Carver (Chief Executive, E&NH NHS Trust), Jacqui Hylton, Andrew Canter (Chairman, NMSF)

We are delighted to announce the appointment of another of Jake's Midwives. The East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has appointed Jacqui Hylton to the new role of bereavement support midwife. The new role was as a direct result of our report, Who Cares When You Lose a Baby?, into the state of bereavement car across the NHS. This is an excellent achievement in the midst of NHS cutbacks and takes the total number of Jake's Midwives to four.

Link to press release:
Link to press coverage:

Quotes about Jake's Midwives...

"Hugely impressive idea" Simon Lederman (BBC Three Counties Radio breakfast presenter)
"People like Jake's Midwives will make a real difference" Lorna Milton (BBC Three Counties Radio breakfast presenter)
"Oh just brilliant" Vanessa Kinsey-Thatcher (Bedfordshire Sands)

NMSF Launches 'Prevention Agenda' for 2011

Our recently launched ‘Prevention Agenda’ for 2011 has the support of many influential health professionals, Government officials and organisations including the RCM, RCOG, FIGO, Sands and Bliss. Our recent focus has been to treat the effect of losing a baby, now we are looking to tackle the issues surrounding preventing stillbirth. We realise this is a particularly challenging task, but we feel the time is right to take action and move this up the health agenda. We also met with Anne Milton MP, Under Secretary of State for Health to move our agenda forward. Full details of NMSF Prevention Agenda 2011 can be obtained here or by emailing  

Media Coverage for Jake's Scholarship


Welwyn Hatfield Times, 16th February 2011

Jake's Scholarship Awarded for 2011

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards recently took place, highlighting the dedication of Midwives and their teams around the country, who continue to work tirelessly to provide outstanding care for women and their families.

Compared by well known broadcaster Natasha Kaplinski, the ceremony was well attended and included senior clinicians, members of the Royal Colleges and politicians, including Anne Milton MP, Under Secretary of State for Health.


Prof Cathy Warwick CBE (NMSF Lead Patron), Jenny Gregory, Andrew Canter (NMSF Chairman), Natasha Kaplinski

This year's winner of the NMSF Award for Excellence in Bereavement Care went to Jenny Gregory from Wansbeck Maternity Unit, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. As part of the award, Jenny will receive Jake's Scholarship funding her training to become a qualified bereavement counselor. Once qualified she will be designated one of Jake's Midwives.


This year's awards received record entry numbers, so we want to thank all of those dedicated and passionate Midwives that took the time to enter. Many congratulations to Jenny and our shortlisted finalists, Gail Bell (NHS Forth Valley), Betty Brodie (NMS Forth Valley) and Christine Birrell (NHS Fife).


Rachel Canter (NMSF Trustee), Andrew Canter with Jake's Scholarship cheque

Prime Minister recognises important work of NMSF

In a recent letter received, the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP said he recognises the important work NMSF does to help bereaved families. He also stated how much of a difference we make to so many affected by losing a baby. He agrees that "it is crucial that parents get the support they need at times of bereavement". He also stated that "the development of local maternity networks will provide an opportunity for local services to break away from the traditional boundaries of hospital and community maternity care - to integrate further and develop services, including bereavement services for women and their families."

He was also "especially interested to read about your proposals to focus on fathers." We are extremely delighted to see our work recognised at the highest level within Government. funds Midwife scholarship programme The UK’s leading independent online fashion has become the latest supporter of the National Maternity Support Foundation’s (NMSF) Jake’s Scholarship scheme to train midwives to become specialist bereavement counsellors. The charitable donation has been made through the ASOS Foundation funded by and supported by the activities of colleagues and customers.

NMSF helps to ensure that maternity services are kept available, accessible, safe and well resourced and that prospective parents have all the information needed to make informed decisions, with bereavement care at the forefront of its recent activities.

Jake’s Scholarship is offered to midwives who have a particular interest in bereavement care and in becoming trained counsellors in a maternity setting.

Louise McCabe, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at said: “We are delighted to be able to support NMSF’s, Jake’s Scholarship programme. We support career development for young people and the majority of our customers are young women who may well be affected by the issues supported by the charity.”

NMSF receives backing from Secretary of State for Health

In a recent letter received from The Rt Hon Andrew Lansley CBE MP, Secretary of State for Health he expressed his support for NMSF and its important work...

"I value highly the work of NMSF in taking forward the debate in the development of maternity services and, in particular, the provision of bereavement services to families who have lost a newborn child.”

National Maternity Day highlights and recognises excellence in midwifery care


Backed by leading medical professionals and politicians the 29th October is designated National Maternity Day to ensure that Jake leaves a positive legacy and make certain that we recognise the excellent work our maternity professionals do often under great stress and pressure.


Over the past year NMSF has achieved some significant advances in improving maternity care, particularly in ensuring that every NHS Trust with a maternity unit offers specialist bereavement care. Since the publication of its damning report, Who cares when you lose a baby? NMSF has worked with several NHS Trusts who have now committed to employing a specialist bereavement midwife.

To advance the understanding of the standard of bereavement care on offer across the NHS, NMSF is collaborating with the University of Chester in planning new groundbreaking research to explore bereaved fathers views and experiences, often sadly overlooked when losing a baby.

Offering her support to National Maternity Day, Cathy Warwick, General Secretary of the RCM, said: “This is a very valuable day which helps to raise awareness about the importance of maternity services, and how good quality maternity care can have a positive and long-lasting impact on mothers, babies and their families. “It highlights the need for sustained investment in maternity services so that women using the service receive the safe and high quality service that they deserve.

“The RCM fully supports the valuable work of Andrew and Rachel through NMSF, Jake’s Charity, and I am enormously proud to be the charity’s lead patron.”

The Rt Hon Grant Shapps added, "I have been involved with NMSF since its inception and I am delighted to see the excellent progress they have made in improving maternity care. It is clear that the work of NMSF has helped to bring some difficult issues surrounding maternity care to the forefront and develop strategies to find solutions that have huge benefits for a great many people. I fully support National Maternity Day and the charity in continuing their important work."

Andrew Canter, Chairman of NMSF said: “We are incredibly proud of our achievements and will continue our work to improve maternity care. We have come a long way since Jake was stillborn and to have such a positive lasting legacy for him is fantastic. We are delighted to have excellent partners who give us huge support and inspiration to continue this important work for the benefit of others.”

To support National Maternity Day we have introduced a scheme to donate 100% of funds towards Jake’s Scholarship programme.

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Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards 2010


NMSF Chairman, Andrew Canter with HRH the Princess Royal, Jayne Welch and Barbara Hanson (our winners), Professor Cathy Warwick, CBE, General Secretary, RCM and NMSF Lead Patron

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards are an annual celebration of the excellence, innovation and impact of midwifery practice in the UK. NMSF in partnership with the RCM developed a new category to recognise the importance of specialist bereavement midwife care which NMSF sponsored. We were extremely proud that this formed a key part of the RCM Annual Midwifery Awards.

NMSF Award for Bereavement Care funded Jake's Scholarship to enable midwives with at least five years experience to undertake training in bereavement care with the aim of practicing as a bereavement counselor in a maternity setting.

The awards lunch took place at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington and were attended by 300 health professionals, including the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran. HRH the Princess Royal, patron of the RCM was the guest of honour.

Jake leaves a lasting legacy

We have been determined to ensure Jake left a lasting legacy, setting up the National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF) in his memory. And that vow has now been cemented with a new award. In partnership with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), NMSF has set up an honour to recognise the importance of bereavement midwife care. The NMSF Award for Bereavement Care – which has become part of the RCM’s annual awards ceremony – will provide a yearly bursary.

“Jake’s Scholarship” will enable NHS midwives with at least five years’ experience to undertake specialist training with the aim of practising as a bereavement counsellor in a maternity setting. Mr Canter, NMSF chairman and also a Welwyn Hatfield borough councillor, said: “We were extremely proud to attend the RCM Midwifery Awards in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal.

“This was our first year as sponsor of the newly-created category for excellence in bereavement care. It was an incredible day and one we will never forget, the beginning of the next phase for Jake to leave a positive legacy.”

The first winners of Jake’s Scholarship were Jayne Welch and Barbara Hanson, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

Winners of Jake’s Scholarship  

Congratulations to the inaugural winners of Jake's Scholarship Jayne Welch and Barbara Hanson from Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for their dedication, passion and their amazing work in this area.


Our congratulations also go to those shortlisted for the award; namely, Julia Lidderdale and Jacqui Nash (West Middlesex University NHS Trust), Fiona Twist and Gill Blackhurst (Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) all demonstrated incredible commitment to their specialist area of bereavement care.

Presentation to winners of Jake's Scholarship

We were delighted to present the cheque in person to the winners of Jake's Scholarship in the maternity unit of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The event was attended by all of the maternity staff and the Trust's Chief Executive, Sir Leonard Fenwick.

Sir Leonard Fenwick CBE, Barbara Hanson, Jayne Welch, Andrew Canter

London Marathon Raises Significant Sum

A huge thank you to James Norman who ran this year's London Marathon for NMSF. All in all he managed to raise £3,100 including gift aid which was a great achievement and greatly appreciated by all of us connected with NMSF. 

An exhausted James Norman at the finish with his well deserved medal  

Here is an account of the day by James...The day it self is one that I shall never forget, after a wet start we got off well and the pace was set to beat the target of 3:45. About 15 miles in I had a very welcome and much needed boost by 7 friends shouting my name and running along side for about 100 meters.... At one point I thought they were going to finish before me! More friends and family cheered me through the Isle of dogs, and after 20 miles we were still on track!

Alas, I could not keep the pace.... and with 2-3 miles to go every step felt 10 times harder and all the people I had recently overtaken were now passing me (Including a Lucozade bottle and a woman in her 60's). Now with no chance of finishing in 3:45 it was all about doing it under 4 hours.... Thankfully my legs held out and I managed to cross the line in.....3 hours 55 Minutes 43 Seconds.


NMSF Publishes Damning Report into Bereavement Care 




Our latest report, Who cares when you lose a baby? highlighted the shortcomings of specialist bereavement midwife care revealing that 40 per cent of NHS Trusts providing maternity services do not have a specialist bereavement midwife counselor to help parents following the tragic loss of a stillborn baby or shortly after birth. 


Key findings:


  • There are 74 NHS Trusts (40 per cent) without a specialist bereavement midwife counselor
  • The survey received an 82 per cent response rate from the NHS Trusts
  • Absolute postcode lottery of bereavement maternity care
  • Apparent lack of a uniform approach or best practice evident
  • 13 per cent employ a bereavement midwife counselor on a part-time or job-share basis
  • There was a complete disregard of the specialist nature of bereavement midwife care evident from some NHS Trusts  


"No bereavement counseling has been offered by the hospital.  They made no contact with us after we left the hospital after the stillbirth. The time just after the loss of your child is bewildering.  But, my Mum could not bear to see the pain we were both in and got our GP out to visit us (she had not been told by the hospital that our son had died) and she arranged counselling for us.  I am also funding private counselling.” (quote from recently bereavement Mother)



The full report can be downloaded here


First joint NMSF/RCM leaflet published

We are extremely proud to announce that our first joint publication titled, There Are No Guarantees has been launched. For the past few months we have worked in close consultation with our partners at the RCM to produce what we believe is an important leaflet relevant to anyone planning on giving birth. It has now been adopted by a number of NHS Trusts and is being distributed to pregnant women at their first Midwife appointment. The leaflet can be downloaded here 

NMSF Funds Bereavement Care Network

We have helped to fund the Bereavement Care Network which has been developed by the Royal College of Midwives, Sands (the stillbirth and neonatal death charity) and Bliss (the special care baby charity), the Bereavement Care Network helps practitioners to share good practice and procedures, exchange ideas and provide informal support.

It is the discussion area for midwives, nurses and student nurses and midwives who provide, or who are interested in, the care offered to parents whose baby dies.

It is also a way for RCM, Sands, Bliss and NMSF to keep professionals informed of relevant information, developments and resources.

NMSF Receives Royal Recognition - Tea at The Palace

We are proud to that the NMSF was officially recognised by HM Queen Elizabeth II for it's work in helping others and campaigning to improve maternity services. We were invited to attend Buckingham Palace to take tea with the Queen on the 8th July 2008.

Above: Andrew & Rachel Canter outside Buckingham Palace

It was a fantastic day which we thoroughly enjoyed. Jake was most definitely in our thoughts as the sun shone down on the beautiful Palace gardens. Although we did not speak directly to the Queen we were fortunate enough to come within a few feet of her, which was absolutely thrilling. We both will remember the occasion for the rest of our lives and it will inspire us even more to continue the work of the NMSF. Oh and the cucumber sandwiches and cakes were delicious too!  

NMSF invited to speak at RCM AGM

We were honoured to have been asked to speak at the Royal College of Midwives AGM which took place in London on the 6th May. The title of the presentation was “It’s my baby too – a fathers reflection on neonatal loss”. This was extremely well received and made a real impact on the audience of medical professionals.

Delivering our charter to the Department of Health

We chose Jake's 2nd birthday 29th October 2007 as the NMSF's official launch day. Our charter was delivered to the Department of Health with the help of our local MP and patron, Grant Shapps.

1. Andrew Canter & 'Mr. Stork' delivering the NMSF's charter to the Department of Health (DoH)
2. Andrew Canter, 'Mr. Stork' & Grant Shapps MP (Shadow Housing Minister) outside the DoH
3. Rachel Canter, 'Mr. Stork' & Rosie Harman outside the DoH
4. 'Mr. Stork', Rachel & Ruby Canter, Anne Milton MP (Shadow Health Minister) & Andrew Canter after the press conference at Port Cullis House, Westminster

The press conference at Port Cullis House, Westminster was attended by Anne Milton, Shadow Health Minister who fully supports the NMSF's objectives. There are a number of policy changes and initiatives that we will be looking to be involved with in the coming months.

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