Covid-19 Coronavirus

First baby born at Noble’s Hospital turns 18

Thursday, 15 July 2021

The first baby born at Noble’s Hospital in Strang has just celebrated her 18th birthday.

Bonnie Papper was the first baby to be born at the Jane Crookall Maternity Unit on 12 July 2003 following the opening of the new Noble’s Hospital building on the Strang site. Previously, babies born on the Island were born at the Jane Crookall Maternity Home in upper Douglas, which was an extension of the Old Noble’s Hospital site on Westmoreland Road.  

Bonnie’s mum, Melanie Caple, gave birth at 15:19 in Labour Room Two, with her baby being delivered by midwife, Liz Vipond. Liz retired four years ago but earlier this week returned to Noble’s to meet a grown-up Bonnie and Melanie, and to celebrate the landmark occasion with them. She said:

“It really was a fantastic honour to deliver the first baby born at the new Noble’s Hospital 18 years ago, and it was a privilege to be able to celebrate Bonnie’s landmark birthday with her. I cannot believe where the last 18 years has gone though! It’s lovely to see how talented she is, even at such a young age, and reminisce on the occasion of her birth with her mum.”  

Melanie, who works for Manx Care in the Housekeeping Team based at Noble’s Hospital, commented:

“Giving birth to my first baby was very daunting, but Liz’s kindness really shone through during the whole experience. I’ve often thought about her over the last 18 years and how she helped to make Bonnie’s birth such a special occasion for us. It was so lovely to be able to meet her again today, albeit in much calmer circumstances!” 

Bonnie is now a Sixth Form student at Ballakermeen High School. She has excelled at ballroom dancing throughout her childhood and – pre-COVID – regularly competed off-Island. She has recently taken up motorsport navigating, competing in local car rallies. Commenting on the landmark anniversary, she said:

“It was really kind of the team at the Jane Crookall Maternity Unit to organise a celebration for me, and to show me the room I was born in and meet Liz. The team of midwives really do a fantastic job and took such good care of my mum and I. They really helped to make my birthday extra special – thank you!”      

Barbara Roberts is Manx Care’s Head of Midwifery, and organised the small celebration to mark Bonnie’s birthday. She added:

“Midwifery may have changed over the last 18 years in terms of medical advancements, but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to give women as safe and as memorable an experience as possible when they’re here in our care. Giving birth is one of the most special times in any woman’s life, and midwives play a significant and important role in that. It truly is a privilege to do the job we do, and even more special when we get to reflect on what a happy occasion it was 18 years ago to safely deliver the first baby born here in our current unit. Happy Birthday to Bonnie!”

Issued By

Back to top