The ABM is pleased to announce the 2014 winner of Pam’s Prize… Carolyn Markham from Northamptonshire. Carolyn is a La Leche League Leader from Northampton. A mother of 3 children: 14,11 and 5 years old. She found La Leche League when her first son was around 4 months old.
“When he was born 14 years ago, after a very difficult birth, I didn’t get any help or support with breastfeeding and it was really tough. I got through with sheer determination and eventually it did get easier and became enjoyable. At LLL I found a different way of mothering – mothering through breastfeeding and when I was asked to consider applying for Leadership myself I was delighted. I fell pregnant with my second whilst training so it took a while but I was finally accredited in 2004. When I first started my accreditation process I was asked by my CLA what I wanted to achieve as a Leader and I said “if I can help just one mother and baby to have the breastfeeding experience they want then it will be worthwhile”. Since then I have spoken to thousands of breastfeeding mothers and babies and been able to support many of them to have fulfilling breastfeeding relationships. However no matter how many I see I always try to remember it doesn’t matter that I have supported so many what matters is the mother and baby relationship in front of me and each one is as important as the first one I helped.
Shortly after I was accredited I opened the Northampton Baby Café with my co-leader Ann Davison. Since we opened we have seen well over 2000 mothers and babies just through there. We have had to close twice due to lack of funding but we have also re-opened twice and are still running 10 years later! Myself and Ann set up a community interest company Baby Ways CIC in 2007 and this has allowed us to provide support to so many women through various projects over the years. It has been amazing to be able to have paid work that I enjoy so much in addition to the voluntary work that I love.
LLL Northampton is a busy group. We have 5 Leaders, and a Leader Applicant. We hold support meetings twice a month and have a FB group with over 400 members! Our monthly meetings are so lovely bringing breastfeeding mothers together in our homes and sharing over 50 years of LLL wisdom with them is really special. I know that many of them go on to forge friendships that last a lifetime. Having the friendship and support of my co-leaders supports and inspires me. Any of them could have won this prize as they also provide fantastic support to breastfeeding mothers.
I remember talking with a mother about whether she might like to train as a breastfeeding counsellor and her saying “I like it that this is something I can do because of my son not in spite of him”. Very true – becoming a mother changed me in so many ways and it also led to me becoming a breastfeeding counsellor and being more fulfilled than I have ever been – before I could never understand people who said they enjoyed their work – now I do. How many people are there who love their work so much that when they are not getting paid for it they go out and do it as a volunteer? I bet most of them are breastfeeding counsellors!
I am so humbled to have won Pam’s Prize. I don’t think I am unique in what I do I just do what so many other breastfeeding supporters around the country do I support mothers and babies to breastfeed it’s just what I do!”
The ABM is proud to have Carolyn as our third ever recipient of Pam’s Prize – our national award recognising the contribution breastfeeding volunteers make in supporting families – and we awarded the prize to Carolyn at our annual conference in June 2014.
If you want to find out more about our previous Pam’s Prize winner (2013) click here.
In November 2010, our chair Pam Lacey passed away. Pam had touched the lives of countless families but also encouraged many other women to train and go on to support others with her infectious humour, wisdom and determination.
Pam’s Prize was set up in her memory. It is a way to give recognition to the way volunteer breastfeeding counsellors make a difference to so many families in their time of need. We wanted to celebrate those who go the extra mile as Pam did.