Shirley Graham-Paul

Born: Not given

Kingston, Jamaica

Date of interview: 6th June 2006

Map showing where Shirley Graham-Paul came from

How old where you when you finished your community midwife?

I was examining in the surgery and one patient couldn't get off the bed, up to sit up so I helped her. And of course her weight pulled on my shoulder ... and I injured my shoulder. Now, I didn't ... those days was where you don't want to let your colleagues down because you know if you go off they'll be short. And I carried on working until it started to hurt a lot.

In the meantime, as I said to you, one of these that was for ever doing something community work, I was ... being trained ... I was doing the neo-natal bereavement counselling for mums who'd lost their babies. I was also studying with Lifeline pre and pregnancy abortion clinic, counselling ... I've finished these off. During that too ... I've trained in those I've decided ... my marriage is going to part anyway, and I thought ... let me do something different. So I was ... doing evenings ... evening study at Wokingham ... Counselling Service. One and only black counsellor in training. And I did counselling for three years and got my certificate.

Now ... it's like ... constantly pursuing my own ... educational challenges. And while I was working at the hospital also there were ... quite few sickle cell thalassaemia patients. I never stopped doing community work. So I was then involved in the national organisation for sickle sell anaemia research. So once I'd come to a meeting I said to them 'There is a need in Reading ... and there's one consultant haematologist seeing these patients. They might not be as many as Birmingham or London or what have you, but she's on her own and I feel that we should have a group supporting.' And they said 'Shirley, if you think there's a need we'll support you. Get it going, set it up and we'll come down' and so I did. And that's where we started. Reading had their own organisation for sickle cell anaemia. And that carried on until we had our first counsellor. I was trained and she was trained and another lassy was trained as counsellors.