On TV, the fictional midwives of Nonnatus House work tirelessly to aid pregnant women in a desperately poor community.
Now, in a touching case of life imitating art, Call The Midwife star Helen George has vowed to help build a much needed childbirth clinic in an impoverished South African village.
The 31-year-old actress, who plays sassy Trixie Franklin in the hit BBC1 drama, was moved to action after witnessing the primitive conditions in Mamre, 30 miles from Cape Town.
She spent five hours in the village while in South Africa filming the Call The Midwife Christmas special – in which some of the characters travel from London to treat babies suffering from malnourishment, polio and Down’s syndrome. An insider described the plot as ‘dramatic, heartrending and tremendously uplifting’.
Ingrid Lestrade, head of the Path Out Of Poverty group spearheading the bid to build the clinic, says the actress’s visit made them feel they had been ‘touched by an angel’. ‘Helen was desperate to help us and has pledged to return with other cast members and build us a midwifery clinic,’ she said.
‘She is determined to help raise the £36,000 needed to build it. At the moment it’s a ten-mile walk to the nearest hospital where women have to pay money they can’t afford.
We are so isolated that ambulances take hours to arrive, so we have to find creative ways for the community to help itself. ‘Helen asked a lot of questions about the health aspect of our programme.
We are trying to reduce the number of babies being born with foetal alcohol syndrome and malnutrition. ‘It was incredible that she spent so much time with a tiny project like ours and has committed to returning and devoting her time and energy to us. ‘She is just an incredible woman.’