Milk Bank Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Quadruplets born in 1935 were the first babies to benefit

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A local hospital has celebrated the 75th anniversary of its milk bank, which provides donated breast milk to newborn babies.

Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital, formerly Queen Charlotte's Hospital in Goldhawk Road, has the oldest continually operating milk bank in the world.

Quadruplet Ann Browning, who was born in 1935, was one of the first babies to receive donations from the bank, along with her three siblings.

Born at home, Ann started life weighing just 3lb 2oz. The smallest of her brothers was Michael at 2lb 13oz. Her two other brothers, Ernest, 3lb 15oz, and Paul, 3lb 7oz, were identical twins.

Their mother was expecting triplets after an X-ray during pregnancy revealed three babies’ backbones, but the fourth baby was a surprise.

“Our mother didn’t have enough milk for all of us, so we were fed donated milk that was flown to us in Cambridgeshire by a volunteer pilot,” Ann said. "Now I think breast milk banking is the best thing about.”

The four siblings suffered no ill effects from being premature and thrived on the donated milk.

Manager of the Trust's milk bank Gillian Weaver said: “Our service helps to save the lives of sick and premature new babies who need life-giving breast milk to give them the best possible start.

“Many thousands of babies have benefited from the specially collected, tested and heat-treated milk our bank provides. Many hundreds of generous mothers have undergone careful screening and donated the precious milk.”

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust's milk bank has also supported many hospitals in the UK and around the world in starting their own milk banks including hospitals in Australia, South Africa, Cameroon, Poland, Portugal, Spain and east Asia.

May 20, 2010

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