By: 19 March 2021
Midwife, Emily, wins £2,500 Pure Foundation Fund for exceptional care and support for expectant mothers during the COVID health crisis

A whole host of healthcare professionals are involved in the pregnancy, birth and post-natal journey, – from midwives, doctors, nurses and surgeons to anaesthetists, obstetricians, neonatal professionals and health visitors. These are the hands that touch the lives of expectant and new parents, both physically and emotionally. From the first scans and antenatal care: to the hands that deliver the baby, support parents and comfort a premature baby.

WaterWipes developed The Pure Foundation Fund to put faces and names to the hands that touch the lives of expectant and new parents, yet so often remain anonymous.

Both new and expectant parents and other healthcare professionals could nominate a healthcare professional who had provided exceptional support, compassion and care or contributed to advancing maternity or neonatal services.

Consultant midwife trainee, Emily Seddon, has been awarded the Pure Foundation Fund plaque and £2,500 for her maternity department at University Hospital Southampton (UHS), to continue to advance patient care. Emily was nominated by her colleague, consultant midwife trainee, Becky Parker, who was also instrumental in delivering excellence in the provision of maternity services.

In response to the UK’s first national lockdown in March 2020, Emily was tasked with developing a method of communication to keep families using UHS maternity services informed regarding changes to their care. With national guidance updating rapidly as the crisis continued, it was crucial that all communications were responsive, evidence-based, and supportive.

The Facebook page ‘Southampton Maternity Service’ was created by Emily, with the idea of building trust between the women who use UHS maternity services and the unit staff – providing open, honest, and timely updates related to changes in care. Facing the initial backlash around the impact of COVID-19, the group’s momentum grew quickly. Now, with over 5,000 followers, it has become a vital platform and resource that not only signposts women to virtual antenatal education, referrals, and clinical advice, but provides much needed support, guidance and reassurance from the unit staff, at a time when many expectant mothers face the prospect of attending antenatal appointments, or even giving birth, without support from their partners or family.

The Facebook group continues to evolve and support new and expectant mothers every day. Emily’s mission is for other maternity units across the UK to set-up similar communication platforms. She hopes to use the bursary fund to improve the UHS maternity unit’s pool birthing room, allowing women access to more facilities to support their birth choices.

Jill Sommerville, Global Director of Medical at WaterWipes said; “The COVID-19 pandemic has opened people’s eyes to the dedication of our healthcare heroes who have gone above and beyond to provide exceptional care. Emily’s work reminds us of the impact the health crisis has had on expectant parents and healthcare professionals; highlighting the importance of being responsive and adapting service provision to maintain a high standard of care.”

Emily was selected as the winner by a panel of WaterWipes representatives, alongside Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive at Bliss, the leading charity for babies born premature or sick, and expert midwife, Marie-Louise Hurworth. WaterWipes and the judging panel were impressed by Emily’s ingenuity, compassion, and dedication to providing exceptional care and support for women amid challenging circumstances.

“Creating the UHS Facebook group has been a unique and rewarding opportunity. COVID has brought women closer to us than ever before – challenging us to adapt and rethink the way we deliver care. This platform has enabled us to build trusting relationships and provide much needed reassurance during a time of uncertainty. I’m really proud of the work we’re doing, and I’m thrilled to receive this fund – it’s a fantastic recognition of the hard work and dedication consistently delivered by maternity professionals. I am so thankful to my colleague, Becky, for nominating me, and to WaterWipes for awarding this generous fund to help expand our birthing options for women.”

Expert Midwife, Marie-Louise Hurworth says: “It was a fantastic experience being on the Pure Foundation Fund judging panel and we were overwhelmed by the number of remarkable stories shared. We would like to congratulate Emily and thank everyone who nominated a healthcare professional.”

The Pure Foundation was awarded to two worthy healthcare professionals. Also selected as a winner was NICU senior sister, Kezia Alex, nominated by new mother, Rebecca Moodie, for the exceptional care she provided for both her and her newborn son, Dylan, who was born prematurely at 24 weeks.



The WaterWipes Pure Foundation Fund will return later this year so don’t forget to nominate yourself or a colleague who have gone above and beyond to provide exceptional care. For more information and open dates for 2021 entries visit: