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Well-known Grantham midwife dies at the age of 90 after battle with cancer

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One of Grantham’s longest-serving midwives, responsible for delivering hundreds of babies over her career including three sets of triplets, has died at home at the age of 90 after a difficult battle with cancer.

Jean Turpin, of Ropsley, worked as a nurse in Grantham between 1959 and her retirement in 1989, initially for the British Nursing Association but mostly as a Grantham Hospital employee.

Her time as a nurse was interspersed with periods looking after her children and she finished her career in the special care baby unit at Manthorpe Road.

Jean Turpin with Gerald Turpin and sons Andrew, left, and Adrian, right, in the Lake District in 2015. (35850263)
Jean Turpin with Gerald Turpin and sons Andrew, left, and Adrian, right, in the Lake District in 2015. (35850263)

She loved her work and her role helping nurture new babies in the special care unit at Grantham, many of them born prematurely and tiny in size, so that they could later be safely taken home by their mothers.

Shortly before her death, Jean said: “I delivered three sets of triplets and I lost count of the number of sets of twins I delivered. I was very proud of the three sets of triplets. I loved my work.”

Jean was also a devoted wife to Gerald Turpin, now aged 95, whom she met in 1959 at Grantham Hospital, where he was a manager in the supplies department. They married in 1962 and had two sons, Andrew, now 55, and Adrian, 52, who helped look after her during her final months.

Midwife Jean Turpin in the 1950s. (35843451)
Midwife Jean Turpin in the 1950s. (35843451)

She died at home on Saturday (May 30) after a long and difficult battle with breast cancer, which required two operations over the past two years.

Gerald said: “She had a heart of gold which finally stopped beating. We will miss her so much.”

Jean grew up in Matlock, Derbyshire, the eldest in a family of nine children. Most of her surviving siblings still live in the Matlock area.

She did her general nursing and midwifery training at Cheltenham General Hospital during the 1950s, qualifying as a State Registered Nurse and State Registered Midwife. She later came to Grantham during a spell working for the BMA that took her all over the country. Many of her closest friends were from the nursing community.

She loved walking and climbing holidays in the Lake District, where she and Gerald became engaged. She once canoed the length of Lake Windermere and later became an enthusiastic organiser of family camping holidays in the Derwentwater and Keswick areas as her two sons grew up.

Her eldest son, Andrew, said: “Jean devoted her life to her family, and was always there offering advice and practical help when needed. Her biggest joy, right to the end, was to get out in the fresh air for a walk, usually at the fastest pace she could manage and in the mountains if possible.”

Jean had two grandchildren, Alexa, 20, and Ross, 17, who are Andrew’s children. In her final weeks she kept them both entertained with amusing stories about her younger days and about the differences and contrasts in village life in Ropsley in the 1960s compared with the present day.

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