First “New” Noble’s Baby Turns 18

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 July 12 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, which was an extension of the Old Noble’s Hospital site on Westmoreland Road.  

Bonnie’s mum, Melanie Caple, gave birth at 3.19pm 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.’

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!’

Melanie Caple, Liz Vipond and Bonnie Papper in the room where Bonnie was delivered by Liz. 

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