Midwife delivers book
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Chapter and verse: Maisie James, née Finch, holds up a copy of her book Thames River Girl which charts her life in Pangbourne and Whitchurch where she worked as a nurse and midwife. 123911 PHOTO: CHRIS FORSEY
A FORMER midwife who delivered more than 300 babies has been writing about a lifetime of memories.
Maisie James née Finch, 84, is the author of Thames River Girl, about her time in Pangbourne and Whitchurch, published with the help of the Pangbourne Heritage Group.
The grandmother-of-two, who has lived in Eastfield House Care Home since September and spent a year working on the book, said: "There are a lot of academic people who have written about the villages, but I just felt that my memories were worth recording.
"I was absolutely thrilled when I first saw it as a book, it's fantastic. My family are all very proud."
The book, which features colour photographs dating back to the 1930s, describes Mrs James' years growing up in the village. She was born in a flat above the shoe repair shop owned by her parents, Wilfrid and Amy Finch, in Whitchurch Road, which was her home for 26 years.
She said: "One of my favourite memories is from when I was only four and Sir Alan Cobham used to come to the village and go up in the planes doing acrobatics and doing trips for five shillings.
"I also remember being with my father by the River Pang when King George VI and the young Queen drove past us on the way to Pangbourne College. I think The Queen is marvellous."
Mrs James joined the Junior Red Cross aged 14 and was trained in First Aid, home nursing and infant welfare at its headquarters in Pangbourne's Reading Road, from where she would cycle to help elderly villagers in Theale and support injured soldiers at Englefield House.
She became a midwife at London's King's College Hospital in 1950 and moved to Tadley four years later after marrying husband Brian, who had been a Royal Air Force driver at the time of D-Day. Mrs James worked as a part-time midwife at The Shubbery Maternity Home in Basingstoke after the birth of their two sons and daughter.
The couple moved to Alton in Hampshire in 1982, where they lived for 26 years until Mr James's death, when she moved to the care home in Eastfield Lane.
She added: "I've come full circle really. It's funny to think I was born half a mile from here, but it's lovely to be back."
The book is available from Mrs James' daughter Valerie Godson. Email email@example.com