Drama as baby born in Canary Wharf shopping centre

By Rob Virtue on November 14, 2012 4:45 PM |

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Home delivery wasn't an option for one Waitrose shopper last weekend.

Daphne Bolus went into labour and had no choice but to give birth to her baby right outside the store - in the middle of a busy shopping centre. It meant little Matthew became the first Wharf-born child in the estate's 20-year history.

The new-born's arrival was so quick he beat the ambulance by a full 15 minutes.

That left dad Timothy and six Canary Wharf security guards, armed with towels, duvets and pillows from the Waitrose store, to deliver the baby while commuters made their way home just feet away.

The baby was born behind makeshift curtains while rush-hour commuters made their way home.

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And despite the unorthodox event in the mall, the mum-of-two was delighted with how it went.

Husband Timothy told The Wharf: "We can't thank the staff enough. They were very professional and calm and made us very comfortable.

"Daphne and I were talking about the birth a couple of days ago and comparing it to our first child which she had in hospital. She said she prefers this one surprisingly.

"She said she felt a lot more comfortable - even though it was in the middle of a shopping centre."

Timothy, who coincidentally used to work in the kitchenware department of the same store until three years ago, said his wife was due to give birth on the November 21 but on Friday her waters broke.

The couple went to the Royal London Hospital but nurses said she wasn't dilated enough and asked them to come back later.

Rather than head all the way back to their home in Manor Park they decided to go to Canary Wharf for dinner and a walk until she was ready to return to hospital.

However, once they got to Waitrose at Canada Place at about 6.15pm the contractions started and Daphne, aged 29, could feel the baby coming so the couple asked a Canary Wharf maintenance worker nearby to call security.

Six security guards arrived a few seconds later and called an ambulance to the estate. However, there was no sign of it so plan B was put into action.

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"They acted fast," said Timothy, 27. "They got duvets and pillows from Waitrose and put a curtain around my wife for privacy.

"Funnily enough one of the security guards said they should Google how to deliver a baby. They did that on a phone and it worked - the birth was a success."

A nurse who was shopping at Waitrose and had heard about the birth then visited to give them a health check, which was all-clear.

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Daphne and son Matthew - who has been given the middle name John after Waitrose fashion and homewear arm John Lewis - were then taken to hospital by ambulance where they stayed overnight before returning home on Saturday.

A spokesman for Canary Wharf Group said: "We're delighted to announce the first birth on the estate. It happened at about 6.15pm on Friday night outside Waitrose and the baby was delivered by our own security personnel.

"They called for an ambulance but the mother went into labour so screens were put around her and she had the baby right there."