AFTER helping hundreds of women bring new life in to the world in a 37-year long career, a midwife is retiring to spend more time with her own grandchildren.

Angie Oleksiw, 64, has stepped down as a team leader at Didcot's Oak Tree Health Centre.

She said she has lost count of the number of babies she has helped deliver since starting out in Newport, South Wales in 1980 but is sure it is in the hundreds, if not the thousands.

Her long association with Oxfordshire began when she moved to a job in the St Georges Ward, Wallingford in 1983 from where she moved to Didcot in 1995 and stayed ever since.

She said one of the nicest parts of the job has been to keep in touch with many of the families she has helped and has even gone on to work with women who she originally helped deliver when they were born.

There have been several memorable births including one in the back of a car driving along the A34.

And she has even helped her own daughters to deliver seven grandchildren.

The Fleet Meadow resident said: "I feel very blessed and privileged to have done what I've done for so long.

"It will be quite a wrench to leave but I will always be part of the community.

"I've made so many friends and I'll often see people I've worked with when I am out in the supermarket.

"It's so nice to see how they are growing up.

"I have never ceased to be amazed by the act of giving birth.

"It''s such a fulfilling and rewarding thing to be a part of.

"I've had a wonderful career and I would recommend it to anyone."

Mrs Oleksiw will keep working occasionally but now plans to spend much more time with her grandchildren, who all live nearby.

She said a major difference between now and when she first started working is the rapid increase in technology which has made it a lot easier to identify and deal with potential problems.

Women are given much more choice over how they want to give birth and there's been a rise in home births.

It's also more common now for couples to want to know the sex of the baby before birth although Mrs Oleksiw says she still prefers the element of surprise.

Her colleague at Oak Tree, Sharon Gibson, said: “She is just an amazing woman and she will be very sorely missed.

“She always had a smile on her face and a hug for everybody and was a pleasure to work with.

“She’s been and a huge part of the place for so long and has helped so many people, there are a lot of people who are sad to see her go but we wish her a wonderful retirement.”