National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF)
NMSF is Jake's Charity

 Andrew & Rachel Canter

NMSF has been set up by Jake Canter's parents, Andrew & Rachel, to ensure he leaves a positive and lasting legacy improving maternity care across the country.


We are totally committed to improving maternity services and have focused our objectives on achieving this goal.

The objects stated in the Declaration of Trust are:-

1) To preserve and protect the health of pregnant women and their babies by assisting in the provision of services or such other support not normally provided by statutory authorities as the trustees may from time to time determine.

 2) To assist in the research into stillbirth and neonatal death for the public benefit.

 These translate into our five key objectives as follows:-

1. Campaign to help keep maternity services available, accessible, safe and well resourced

2. Ensure that prospective parents have all the information needed to make informed decisions

3. Being a resource for others to obtain information and support

4. Support and promote, in partnership with other organisations, further research into stillbirth and neonatal death

5. Ensure there is adequate bereavement care available whenever it is required

To help us achieve our objectives please donate by texting NMSF29 £5 to 70070

Our Patrons

We are extremely proud to have a dedicated team of Patrons, led by the Professor Cathy Warwick CBE. We thank them all for their continuing help and support. 

Lead Patron: Natasha Kaplinsky OBE

Natasha Kaplinsky OBE is known as one of television’s best-loved broadcasters.

She was one of the anchors for the ITN network and previously was the ‘Face of Five’, anchoring the channel’s main evening news programme. Before her role at Five News, Natasha spent five years working at the BBC. Her time there began by co-presenting Breakfast with Dermot Murnaghan. This daily three-hour live show, combining news, current affairs and softer items, was where she developed a reputation for incisive interviewing combined with a gentle touch where necessary. Her success on the show led to Natasha’s move to co-present the Six O’clock News, where she stayed for two years.

Alongside her news-casting Natasha is widely known for her triumphant appearance on the BBC’s prime time Saturday night show Strictly Come Dancing, becoming the shows first ever Champion! Natasha went on to perform in the Christmas special a year later and co-presented the second series with Bruce Forsyth. Natasha has also enjoyed the chance to host a variety of factual and entertainment programmes including Antiques Roadshow, Children In Need, The VE Day Celebrations, Making Your Mind Up, The Royal Variety Show, Restoration and Have I Got News For You.

In 2012 Natasha fronted a 6-part entertainment series, Born to Shine, which aired live on Sunday nights on ITV1. The series supported Save the Children’s No Child Born to Die campaign, of which Natasha has been an Ambassador since 2010, and the programme was nominated for a Rose D’Or.

Natasha is a member of the Prime Minister's Holocaust Commission and a patron of both Merlin and The Willow Foundation. As an ambassador for Save the Children Natasha has had the opportunity to travel widely with the charity, with visits to South Africa, Mozambique, India, Sierra Leone and Jordan, visiting Save The Children Projects and promoting their work worldwide. Natasha has been awarded an OBE for her work.

Professor Cathy Warwick CBE

Cathy Warwick CBE is the former Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). Cathy gained a nursing degree at Edinburgh University in 1975. She completed a one-year midwifery course at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in London in 1976, and worked as a midwife across a variety of clinical settings in hospitals and in the community. She has held a number of senior posts in midwifery education and in the NHS managing midwifery and nursing services. Prior to joining the RCM, she was Director of Midwifery and General Manager for Women & Children’s Services at King’s College Hospital in London. She has an MSc in Social Policy, an Advanced Diploma in Midwifery (ADM)
  and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) of Adults.

Her diverse work has resulted in invitations to sit on many national maternity policy committees, and she has been Chair of the Midwifery Committee at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and Chair of the Maternity Working Group contributing to the Darzi Report, Healthcare for London.

Cathy has also written and published widely on midwifery issues and lectures and speaks nationally and internationally. She was awarded a visiting professorship by King’s College, London in 2004,

She received a CBE for Services to Healthcare in 2006, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from St George’s and Kingston University, London in 2007.

Dr. Dame Karlene Davis DBE, Hon DSc, MA, BEd, HONS, RN, RM, MTD


Dame Karlene Davis DBE has recently retired from her position as General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives having been in the post since 1997. During this time she provided leadership and direction in influencing significant changes in the maternity services provision and the evolving role of the midwife in response to women’s choice, inequalities in health and social exclusion.

She has agreed to continue as a patron offering invaluable advice on the issues surrounding maternity services. We share her aim to see midwives recognised and rewarded for the pivotal role which they play in working with women to achieve optimum maternity services provision and the enhancement of the wider public health.

Rt Hon Grant Shapps, Member of Parliament for Welwyn Hatfield


Grant was reselected for Welwyn Hatfield in 2002 and went on to win the May 2005 General Election with a majority of 5,946 taking his seat from Labour Minister Melanie Johnson. The 8.2% swing was one of the biggest nationwide.

In May 2010 he was re-elected for Welwyn Hatfield with a surprising 17,423 majority. The 11.1% swing was once again one of the largest national swings to the Conservatives in the country and easily Welwyn Hatfield’s biggest ever majority for an MP of any Party.

After the May 2010 election Grant Shapps became Minister of State for Housing & Local Government in the Coalition Government. In June 2010 was made a Privy Counsellor by the Queen, meaning that he may use the title The Rt Hon before his name.

In September 2012 Grant was appointed as Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio.

Mr Rami K Atalla, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, MB, ChB, MRCOG


Mr. Rami Atalla is a senior consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and lead Urogynaecology consultant for East and North Hertfordshire trust. He specialises in pelvic floor operations including incontinence, prolapses and vaginal surgeries.

After graduation in 1987, he had a wide range of experience in large teaching Hospital such as Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, Birmingham Maternity Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary.

He was appointed as a Lecturer at Leicester University before joining the East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust. He performed a large number of researches in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He has a large number of publications in major scientific journals as well as several chapters in postgraduate medical books.

He is widely regarded as a good lecturer and gets regularly invited to lecture in scientific meetings. In 2000, he developed the Recurrent Miscarriages clinic, which gained a national reputation with referrals from beyond our catchment area.

He is popular and highly regarded by his patients and recently he has been nominated as an NHS Hero.

Rami delivered our precious two daugthers, Ruby and Mia and son, Theo at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City and we are proud to have him as a patron.

Jo Watt, Specialist Midwife

Jo has worked as a Midwife for over 15 years, with experience supporting mothers both in hospital and in the community.  She has worked at the Rosie, Addenbrooke’s Hospital for 5 years, and 9 years in total as an infant feeding specialist midwife, working at the QEII Hospital, Welwyn Garden City. Before that she was a community midwife.

She is a lactation consultant so has an extra qualification in infant feeding. Her main role is to promote the Baby Friendly Initiative the Rosie, looking at their breastfeeding initiation rates and how she can encourage women to be successful at breastfeeding, looking at all the support around feeding and get them off to the best possible start.

Jo trains staff and takes Parentcraft classes for parents to come back into the hospital. She’s visible on the ward to deal with any particular problems or if midwives would like some extra input. Like other specialist midwives she offers that extra level of expertise and support.

Because she doesn’t have a bay of mums to look after she can go and spend one or two hours with one mum and baby if that’s what it takes. If it’s quite complicated getting the feeding established then she’ll often work with the mums and do plans. She sends them home with a plan and then catches up with them the next day and changes that plan working on a day to day basis which works quite nicely for some people who want to go home. This involves working a lot with the community midwives.

Why the Dragonfly logo?


People often ask why we chose our Dragonfly logo. In the early days following Jake’s death, we were told this wonderful story called Water bugs and dragonflies which was extremely poignant at the time and was read at Jake’s funeral and has always stayed with us, hence the charity logo.

Here is the story...

Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond.

They did notice that every once in a while one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about with its friends. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily, it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

‘Look’ said one of the water bugs to another. ‘One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you suppose she is going?’

Up, up, up it went slowly. Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return.

‘That’s funny!’ said one water bug to another.

‘Wasn’t she happy here?’ asked a second water bug.

‘Where do you suppose she went?’ wondered a third.

No one had the answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. ‘I have an idea. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.’

‘We promise’, they said solemnly.

One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broken through the surface of the water, and fallen onto the broad green lily pad above.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings. The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly.

Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere.

By and by, the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were, scurrying about, just as he had been doing some time before.

Then the dragonfly remembered the promise: ‘The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why.’

Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water.

‘I can’t return!’ he said in dismay. ‘At least I tried, but I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what happened to me, and where I went.’

And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air.

Doris Stickney

(Thank you to Ann Chalmers, Chief Executive of the Child Berearvement Charity who told us that Doris Stickney wrote the Waterbugs & Dragonfly story)