AS THE future of the former Amman Valley Hospital maternity building looks uncertain, the South Wales Guardian is calling on readers to get in touch and tell us their stories from the iconic unit where the first NHS baby was born.

Much to the dismay of the public, the maternity wing closed in 1984 after serving the community for decades.

The death knell for the maternity wing was sounded by the East Dyfed Health Authority at a public meeting on Thursday, April 26, 1984, which was held at Brynseion Chapel, Glanaman.

Reasons for the closure were cited as shortage of money – only half the beds were used at both the maternity wing and main block and the needs of the community had changed.

But this maternity building has an interesting past, on July 5, 1948, the first-ever NHS baby was born there.

Naming the newborn was straightforward, the inspiration was the founding father of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan.

For her mother Edna Thomas, who spent 18 hours in labour before giving birth, it meant no longer having to shell out the one shilling and sixpence in midwifery fees.

For Edna’s husband Willie, that would have made a serious dent in the £2 a week wages that he earned as a miner down the Great Mountain pit in Tumble.

Previously, Aneira Thomas – the first-ever NHS baby – said: “As a child I never understood what the significance of it was.

“I just kept saying I was the first national health baby and didn’t understand what it meant.”

Mrs Thomas forged a lifelong link with the health service becoming a mental health nurse, along with her three sisters, and her daughter is now a ambulance technician.

Now, Amman Valley residents want one last look around the building before a final decision is made on its future.

One mother who has strong links to the maternity ward and said that she will be sad to see the building go is Lynette Rodwell.

The 31-year-old said: “It is a shame to see such an iconic building go to tatters.

“The building holds strong memories for a lot of people in the Valley.

“It will be a shame to see it gone.

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could have one last tour of the building?”

A Facebook group has been set up with many people sharing their memories of their time at the former maternity wing.

One contributor commented: “Two of my children were born there and my nephew. It was considered a really amazing maternity unit in it’s day. It would be a shame to lose it.”

While another said: “My three children were born there and what a wonderful place it was.”

If you have a story you would like to share with us get in touch by ringing the newsroom on 01269 592704 or e-mailing news@southw