The Women’s Organisation prepares to celebrate ‘Scouse Superwomen’

THE Women’s Organisation has unveiled its ‘Scouse Superwoman’ following a public appeal last year.

It was part of its plans for a book to mark the 21st anniversary of the Liverpool social enterprise, which is dedicated to encouraging female entrepreneurs.

Now, with preparations under way to launch the book in late April, the organisation has revealed its choice, from scores of nominations, for the final chapter of the book.

Mary McDonald, 72, is the proverbial larger than life character who has served as an inspiration to generations of Liverpool families.

She was a community midwife in the 1960s, having started studies aged 14 at the then Mabel Fletcher College.

Mary worked in Canada for a year before returning to the city, based in Oxford Street, before transferring to the Liverpool Women’s Hospital where she is now a stakeholder governor, despite retiring in 2009.

She was responsible for the Dingle area and was soon a focal point of the community. She would be called out at all hours of the day and night to women in labour.

Mary recalls: “I often dealt with people living in difficult circumstances and in tenements. It could be quite challenging, but I loved it.

“The people were so kind; they’d give you their last cup of tea and were always respectful of you – they’d stop a fight to let you pass!

“Someone once gave me a card that said ‘midwives are angels in disguise’ and that’s never changed.”

Mary was nominated as the 21st ‘Scouse Superwoman’ by her daughter, Claire, who said: “I’m pretty impressed by what mum manages to do.

“You see an element of getting older and tending to slow down, but it’s the element of never quitting and never stopping.

“She has boundless energy. It’s like having someone on rocket fuel next to you. It’s always bigger and better and she takes this into her work.”

She added: “She has been retired nine years but she doesn’t stop, and it’s been like that all my life.

“When I was small and we would go shopping it would take ages because everyone would stop her and say she had delivered their child. She’s a bigger character.”

Claire said: “She was the patient’s advocate, not the consultant’s hand-maid.”

The Women’s Organisation spokeswoman Abi Inglis said Mary was an obvious choice for their book: “We were impressed by her long-standing relationship with Liverpool Women’s Hospital and all the families she has supported, and the impact she has had on the lives of so many Liverpool women.”

Mary said she was “absolutely excited” about being included in the book.

“I have had a very exciting life and career. I am excited and feel very privileged.”

And she added modestly: “I feel I am there under false pretences. I just wonder whether they have the right person, looking at all the other people included in the book.”

The Women’s Organisation decided to mark its 21st anniversary by celebrating 21 of the Liverpool City Region’s most outstanding female characters in a new book.

With 20 chapters written, the St James Street-based agency asked the Liverpool City Region to suggest candidates for the final part, sparking a flurry of nominations from throughout the region.

The book will be launched at the Museum of Liverpool on April 26.

Since The Women’s Organisation was founded 21 years ago, initially as Train 2000, it has helped more than 50,000 women create, or improve their businesses.

The venture now operates from its own £5.3m purpose-built hub at 54 St James Street, which also provides incubator space for almost 120 budding entrepreneurs.