A MIDWIFE who goes above and beyond the call of duty to help care for grieving families has been hailed a hero.

Amanda Cushing is Southend Hospital’s bereavement specialist midwife and her caring, compassionate work is an inspiration.

Echo reader Ann-Marie Summers wrote to us to shine a light on Amanda’s work.

Ann-Marie was looking forward to welcoming her first child into the world as the country battled coronavirus, but sadly experienced a stillbirth.

Understandably, Ann-Marie found it hard to come to terms with the loss of her daughter, Ezmai-Gray Bourton.

The heartbreak made it difficult for Ann-Marie, 28, to speak to her partner Darren Bourton, but Amanda helped her through the most testing period of her life.

Ann-Marie, from Rayleigh, said: “My partner and I suffered a stillbirth in March. It was just as the first lockdown was being put in place, so it wasn’t easy because we were unable to see family and friends.

“Amanda came and saw me regularly, checking I was OK. She came and did my blood tests at home and helped me to get through such a heartbreaking time.

“Amanda even got a lot of sentimental things for my daughter and I was massively appreciative of that.

“She is an amazing person and was my rock in a difficult time in my life.

“If I’m being totally honest, I don’t know if I could have got through the pain without Amanda.”


Amanda helped Ann-Marie and Darren, 34, arrange Ezmai-Gray’s funeral.

Restrictions put in place by the Government due to the pandemic meant only a limited number of people were able to attend.

But Ann-Marie – who now supports 4Louis, Essex Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity and Angel Babies and Children – showed her gratitude for all of Amanda’s support by inviting her to the funeral.

She added: “I was only allowed ten people at my daughter’s funeral because of the lockdown restrictions.

“Amanda had helped me so much since first meeting her, including arranging the funeral, that I made sure she was there ahead of some members of the family. I didn’t know Amanda before, but she has become a friend.

“Not being able to see family and friends made it even more difficult to deal with, but she supported me every step of the way. Amanda was there if I needed someone to speak to and I can still reach out to her now, which means a lot to me.”

We want to shine a light on those who have played a key role in helping you get through the pandemic.

To nominate your Community Hero, simply complete the form below.