A Pembrokeshire midwife who has carried on helping those in hospital long after retirement has been named a one of the Queen’s Platinum Champions.

Leah Pitman, from Fishguard, was nominated for the award for her work creating and coordinating the distribution of handmade items for NHS patients.

More than 3,000 people were nominated as platinum champions, but only 490 were chosen from the whole of the UK and just 23 in Wales.

The awards celebrate extraordinary volunteers who go the extra mile to improve the lives of others.

Leah was nominated due to her work producing, and coordinating volunteers to make, knitted teddies, striking patchwork quilts, fidget cushions and essentials bags for dementia patients, stroke patients and others in hospital.

Despite having her own health struggles, Leah coordinates a team of volunteers who also make the items and she arranges their distribution.

She and her team of around 24, also knit fish and chip baby jumpers and hats, and crib blankets, that are sent out to the Congo to clothe babies who would otherwise be wrapped in newspaper. They also knit hats for newborn babies in Glangwili Hospital, sending in around 300 a year.

Over the first two years of Covid Leah and her team produced 1,795 items but their mission began around eight years before the pandemic.

“Eight to 10 years before pandemic the Pembrokeshire Federation of the WI was asked by Withybush to make fidget cushions for dementia patients. The WI handed challenge to me,” said Leah.

Leah ran day schools on how to make the cushions and from there was asked to make lap quilts and then approached by consultant who worked with stroke patients and asked to make small bags that patients can keep their teeth, hearing aids and glasses in.

Leah and her committed team consisting of WI member past and present, family and friends, continue to make the items that have been requested by NHS doctors and nurses.

“I only got here because of the group working with me. I was honoured for all of us,” said Leah.

“I think it did us as much good during the pandemic as the patients because we were doing something useful during lockdown.”