Grateful parents, grandparents, children and supporters said an emotional goodbye to staff at SCUBU today (Monday). The unit, which has served and saved some of Pembrokeshire’s most vulnerable babies, officially closed at midnight last night.

At 10am SCBU staff fought back tears as the small gathering gave them a standing ovation.

Health care campaigners David and Elaine Williams organised the spontaneous event outside the hospital, advertising the gathering on social media and inviting SCBU nurses to attend.

“It makes me cry, it makes me cry every time.” said Elaine. “My babies were all born a long time ago, but I fight for other women. This is a very passionate thing and we won’t give up.”

“It didn’t seem right that the closing of SCUBU and consultant-led maternity should pass quietly,” added David. “This is not a protest but a way of publically thanking staff for all their dedication and hard work and stating we will continue fighting until they are back.”

Many of those attending had benefited from the care provided at Withybush’s SCBU. Claire Evans’ son, Danny, was born in 2003 with a complex heart condition.

“He had breathing difficulties and was taken into SCBU here. They saved his life and kept him alive until he could be transferred as his problems were so complex,” she said.

“I’m really grateful to them for spotting there was a problem and keeping him alive.” Claire’s daughter, Rebecca, was also in SCBU for a few days after she was born and her niece was in the unit for three months.

“They had amazing care. I am really really grateful for it,” added Claire.

Many of the SCBU team were too emotional to speak following the tribute from members of the public.

“I’m saying goodbye to something I’ve been in for 34 years,” said nurse Anne Stevenson. “It’s heart breaking to see it close. Something that started off with only a handful of staff to what we have got now. The knowledge and skills we have developed is second to none. We’ve not only had babies from Pembrokeshire but all across Wales and beyond.

“Today’s event as well, as all the comments posted on social media and websites, means a lot.”