PLEASE may I say via your column how delighted I am to see the article on Andover Maternity Unit and the celebration to open the new re-vamped unit in Andover.

In 1990 I was approached by the midwives for help in trying to save Andover Maternity Unit (I was a councillor at that time) to help save the Andover Maternity for the residents of Andover and surrounding area, otherwise patients would have to go to Winchester.

We would stand in Andover High Street, campaigning for signatures that came thick and fast as everyone wanted to save out maternity unit.

On the 25th May 1990 you published the article "Hands Off Priceless Baby Unit" with a photograph of me and senior midwife Sally Brewer presenting the petition to Frances Sheldon of Winchester Health Authority.

READ MORE: 'It is wonderful' - Birth centre reopens at War Memorial Hospital after refurb

We had the public on board the next stage was to raise enough money to challenge the figures given by the authority, I spent weekend delivering letters to companies asking if they could help with funding without success.

Therefore I turned to my Test Valley council leader, and he agreed that the council could help if the relevant committee agreed, this was agreed and passed at the council meeting. Once it became public that the council was helping by giving £1,000 to the fund, funds then came in from companies, a young girl aged 11-12 also saved her pocket money up to help.

We raised the money and an consultant challenged the figures so we won day day.

If we had lost there would not be a Maternity Unit in Andover today.

Since when the Maternity Unit as gone through phases of being the Birthing Centre, and is now gone back to Maternity Unit which is brilliant as now we can really feel Andover Maternity Unit is safe.

All our past hard work has paid off.

Congratulations to the Andover Maternity Unit.

Jill Hannington

Weyhill Road


Send letters by email to or by post to Editor, Andover Advertiser/Basingstoke Gazette, Absolutely Offices, Lutyens Cl, Lychpit, Basingstoke RG24 8AG.

All letters and e-mails must include full names and addresses (anonymous letters will not be published), although these details may be withheld from publication, on request.

Letters of 300 words or less will be given priority, although all are subject to editing for reasons of clarity, space, or legal requirements. We reserve the right to edit letters.