MATERNITY staff at Ipswich Hospital are going for gold this month after a busy Christmas and New Year delivering festive bundles of joy.

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These beautiful babies are just some of the 20 newborns who arrived in the town over Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The unit at Heath Road, which overseas the arrival of around 3,800 babies a year, is one of three shortlisted for the Maternity Services of the Year award by the Royal College of Midwives and staff have their fingers crossed for the gold award.

Laura Tunmore, 30, from Framlingham gave birth to 7lb 5oz baby Holly Ellen Shapland at 6.20pm on Christmas Day, following a 24-hour labour.

Laura was induced and went into labour on Christmas Eve, but said that festive spirit was the last thing on her mind.

She said: “She was almost two weeks late, so I didn’t care that it was Christmas on the day. We’d sort of cancelled Christmas anyway.”

Jennifer Pearson from Felixstowe was just ten minutes later, giving birth to 6lb 12oz Harmony Rose at 6.30pm.

Jade Macfarlane, 25, from Rendlesham was the first of 13 women to give birth on Boxing Day.

Jade’s labour began around 3am on Christmas Day but she didn’t go into hospital until 1am on Boxing Day, eventually giving birth at 7.06am to 7lb 5oz Molly Rose.

“Christmas Day was a bit of a write-off,” she said. “Boxing Day was her due date so she was prompt.”

Jade was full of praise for the maternity team and said they were very deserving of the nomination.

“They were brilliant,” she said. “We phoned them several times before the labour started. They were as attentive as they could have been – any questions, any concerns, they were there. They were lovely.”

Shelley Hoult also welcomed newborn Oakley Colin Hoult at 7.19am on Boxing Day.

Junior health minister and MP for North Ipswich and Central Suffolk Dr Dan Poulter visited the hospital on Christmas Day, dropping in at the maternity ward to greet all the new parents.

The MP met with hospital medical director Peter Donaldson and head of midwifery Christine Colbourne, who is due to retire in March after 32 years.

The award winner will be announced at the end of the month.

Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman Jan Ingle said: “This nomination is a fantastic honour and we can’t wait for the awards evening.”

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