TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known and popular midwife Andover midwife who delivered hundreds of babies over the course of her long career.

Audrey McGarry, aged 91, passed away in Winchester Hospital on October 8 after suffering a stroke.

The great-grandmother of four had lived with her family in Andover for over 50 years, although she had been born and brought up in Slough. She married Philip McGarry in 1953 and followed him by ship to his first Army posting in Singapore, where their eldest son, Pip - now a well-known local wildlife artist - was born.

The couple spent their early married life travelling the world with the British Army, before returning to Andover in the early 70’s with their growing family. Mrs McGarry was a state registered nurse and midwife and worked as a sister in the maternity ward of Andover’s War Memorial Hospital for 26 years, from 1971 to 1997.

Her role saw her frequently called out in the middle of the night to a home birth. Many mothers in Andover will remember Sister McGarry arriving at their homes in the nick of time on her motorbike, or, in later years, in her little white car.

Following her retirement, Mrs McGarry pursued her many and varied interests. She was a keen member of the U3A, helped with archaeological digs around Stonehenge, and practised Tai Chi. She and her husband researched the family’s history and travelled extensively round Britain following up clues and leads.

Her main interest, though, was embroidery and needlecraft of all sorts. She qualified as a City and Guilds embroiderer and exhibited many pieces with the local Embroiderers’ Guild. She also attended painting classes with the Andover Inspire group. In 2013 Captain and Mrs McGarry celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary.

Captain McGarry died in 2016. As well as bringing many Andover babies into the world, Mrs McGarry was also a loving and caring mother to five children of her own: Pip, Gale, Garth, Dominic and Michael, and grandmother to Alexandra, Charlotte, Georgie, Jessica, Issy, Luke and Marc. She was also a great-grandmother to Indi, Leia, Holden and Wynifred.

Paying tribute to her beloved mother, daughter Gale said: ‘Mum was a lovely person with a wicked sense of humour, interested in everyone and everything. She was always sociable and made many friend s in Andover over the years. We all miss her very much.’ She added: “One thing we don’t have is any photos of Mum in her midwife’s uniform or with any of the babies she delivered. If anyone has photos of Mum at work, we would love to see them.”