Well known local DJ James Chapple says it would be ‘crazy’ if maternity services moved out of North Devon

A well known North Devon DJ and his family have added their support to the hugely popular #BarnstapleBaby campaign to save maternity services.

James Chapple, his four brothers and his sister were all born at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH), as were some of their own children.

Their story is one of hundreds that have been posted on social media since the Gazette launched #BarnstapleBaby calling on people to share photos of themselves or their children stating ‘I’m a #BarnstapleBaby’ with their date of birth.

There are fears the current health service reviews could see key services such as maternity moved to Exeter or Plymouth.

James, born to Susan and Mike Chapple in June 1986, said it would be ‘ridiculous’ if expectant mums had to travel an hour and 45 minutes to the nearest maternity unit.

The Fever DJ said: “It’s crazy really, it’s just a worry that the services could be so far away. Some people are lucky to have a straightforward birth, but having to travel is just an added pressure and could cost lives.”

He and fiancée Charley had a home birth for their son Ernie 14 months ago, but he said it was comforting to know the unit was 15 minutes away if there were complications.

The Chapple clan started with eldest son Steve, born in May 1970 and followed by John, Rew, Dean, James and Amy.

Mum Sue said: “I had excellent service and was ever so pleased with NDDH and am really sad to think that unit could be closed down.

“With one of my children in the last stages of labour I haemorrhaged really badly – I had 10 people come into the room and save my baby.

“My concerns are what would happen if I was halfway up the link road?”

* If you or your child were born at NDDH, support the #BarnstapleBaby campaign by sharing a photo of yourself or your child stating ‘I’m a #BarnstapleBaby’ with their date of birth.