Such fantastic news, our chief executive, Jane Plumb MBE has just been announced as Tesco Campaigning Mum of the Year.
The TV show, featuring all of the Tesco #MumoftheYear winners for 2014 can be viewed here. Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive of GBSS, is presented with the Campaigning Mum of the Year award at approximately 19 minutes into the show.
The Tesco Mums were invited to Downing Street for the Inspiring Women reception.
The winners were on the guest list when Downing Street held a reception to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March.
As well as the mums, 150 inspirational women from a range of backgrounds, including company CEOs, charity representatives and those who work in the creative industries and public sector were invited in recognition of their achievements.
The Prime Minster had spent the day in Brussels at the Ukraine summit and although he was running late, made a point of congratulating and being photographed with the Tesco winners. Addressing the women present, he said: “Thank you all for the incredible things you do. It’s great to spend even a little time with you.
“Sometimes people don’t like to put themselves forward, but the most powerful concept of change is the role model.” The mums were also pictured with Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron who said: “It is wonderful to have the Tesco Mums of the Year here this evening. The work that they do is incredible.”
The mums mingled with Home Secretary Theresa May and Helen Bonham Carter, TV presenters Carol Vorderman and Lorraine Pascale, Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, newsreader Fiona Bruce, pregnant super model Erin O’Connor and Mum of the Year judge, TV presenter Gabby Logan.
Joan Collins chatted to the winners and said: “There is nothing more inspirational than mums who care and these amazing women obviously care deeply for others.”
Afterwards Enterprising Mum of the Year Ranu Mehta-Radia of the Sai School in Harrow said: “There were so many interesting women at the reception and it was great to talk to them about their work.”
Tesco Campaigning #MumoftheYear – Jane’s Story
Jane has spent the 17 years since her newborn son’s death campaigning for pregnant women to be offered advice and testing for Group B Strep
Soon after Jane Plumb was told her premature baby son Theo had died because of a group B Strep infection (GBS), she discovered the infection was preventable and vowed to help other families.
Jane, 55, and her husband Robert, 58, lost Theo 17 years ago, but the memories of that day are still fresh in her mind. She says: “Theo was born nearly 15 weeks early and his doctors told us GBS had most likely contributed to his death.
“I had never heard of it. We did some research and found GBS is actually as common, or even more common, than conditions like spina bifida yet far fewer women have heard of it and testing is not offered as part of routine ante-natal care.
“Steps could have been taken and, although I don’t think they would have made a difference in Theo’s case, I was heartbroken when I realised nothing had been done.”
Up to 30% of adults carry GBS without any symptoms and without it causing any harm, but if it is present in the vagina of a woman when she gives birth, it can cause serious infections such as septicaemia, pneumonia and meningitis in her baby.
Every year in the UK around 500 babies become ill because of GBS and around 50 of them die. Of the survivors, some are left with lasting effects from the infection.
After Theo’s death, Jane and Robert looked for support and guidance, but couldn’t find the answers they needed. Determined to support other families in the same position, the couple founded Group B Strep Support (GBSS) and achieved charitable status six months to the day after Theo’s death.
Jane, who is also mum to Oliver, 21, and Camilla, 15, says: “Over the past 17 years, GBSS has grown from just something I did on a part-time basis to a professional operation, which works with both professionals and parents to raise awareness and provide support and information.”
In 2003, the charity’s efforts contributed to the first national GBS guidelines being published by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Jane, from Haywards Heath, West Sussex, also campaigns for pregnant women to be routinely offered information and GBS-specific testing.
The UK National Screening Committee reviews their decisions on a three yearly basis so, at the moment, Jane is raising awareness amongst expectant parents and the health professionals who look after them.
Jane admits that much of her work for GBSS takes her out of her comfort zone. She says: “I speak at conferences all the time nowadays, but in the early days doctors terrified me. I still don’t like standing up and announcing I have a question, but if I weren’t there, that issue might not be raised at all.
“Sometimes though, I hear from parents who say the information we gave them meant their babies were born free from GBS infection and it all seems worthwhile. It’s for those babies, babies like Theo, that we’ll keep campaigning and raising awareness.”