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In memory of Carol Hird

Carol Hird

$30,316.00 (raised so far)

About Carol Hird

Carol thrived on helping people and had an innate ability to connect with others. Born in Hull, Yorkshire, Carol was drawn to the pursuit of midwifery and nursing, completing her studies in England before emigrating to Canada. Her work throughout the years as a clinician, teacher, administrator, nurse, and advocate in the midwifery movement greatly impacted her community.

Carol was a true leader. She was a champion of the Midwives Association of BC and served on the executive of the International Confederation of Midwives for nine years. Carol was deeply involved with lobbying successfully for the recognition of professional midwifery and its establishment in Canada. In 2005, she received a certificate of honourary membership from the MABC “for her outstanding contribution to the advancement of midwifery in BC”, including her role as President leading to the 23rd ICM Triennial Congress in Vancouver. Throughout her career, including her many achievements and milestones, Carol was most touched by the connections she made with others. Her husband Brian Burtch recounts the hundreds of thank you messages that poured in from those who adored her – a true testament to the legacy she leaves behind.

Carol passed away in the North Shore Hospice on April 29th from a 4-year battle with ovarian cancer. Her loving husband Brian was by her side. Carol leaves behind her stepdaughter Leora Gibson, son-in-law Trent Gibson, three grandchildren (Maeve, Torsten, Ella), her loving family in England and Canada, and so many great friends.

Carol’s husband, Dr. Brian Burtch, encourages everyone to check out a few links that honour Carol’s memory – a beautiful tribute to Carol from her dear friend, Bernie Motut and a video of Carol dancing that truly captures her spirit and zest for life.

If you would like to make a monthly gift in memory of Carol, please complete the following donation form.

The impact of your support

In honour of Carol’s memory, your donation will support a student who is pursuing studies in Midwifery at UBC and are sincerely appreciated. If you would like to make a monthly gift, please complete the following donation form.

Final decisions on award description and student eligibility will be made in consultation with the Hird family

Messages of Remembrance

All Messages
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  • I originally come from Saskatchewan so I didn't know about Carol until I came to BC and started working as a midwife. The first time I met her was at the hospital where she had transferred someone in for a postpartum bleed. She seemed so confident, skilled and strong. I felt very privileged to be meeting her, for the first time in person, as I had heard about her by then. I was very happy to hear that she had become president of ICM... what a wonderful role model she was for the rest of us. In later years, I was very touched and happy that she came to my doctoral defense. She asked a very interesting question, which fortunately I was able to answer. Carol leaves a wonderful legacy, to British Columbia midwifery and beyond.

    Cathryn Ellis, colleague and friend
  • Carol was a dear and fun loving member of our bookclub. I always looked forward to her intelligent and witty input about our books. Carol hosted us many times in her beautiful home. We miss and remember her. Karen Nitzek

    Karen, Friend and bookclub member
  • I didn't have the chance to know Carol; however, she influenced the UBC Midwifery Faculty so greatly as a wise midwife and a friend, that I can't help but support her memory. We would not have midwifery in British Columbia without her efforts. Carol's work can live on in this generous fund to support student midwives.

    Cecilia Jevitt, UBC Midwifery Faculty
  • On behalf of our family, and in memory of Our Carol, thanks to everyone who contributed to the 2nd annual fundraiser in support of the Carol Hird memorial award in midwifery. Your generous support is greatly appreciated.

    Brian Burtch, Husband
  • Fond memories of Our Carol and discovering what it means to be beloved. Blessings to our family members and our many friends on this 2nd anniversary of her passing.

    Brian Burtch, Husband
  • Did not have the opportunity to get to know Carol well due to distance. Carol visited us in Halifax with Brian and became instant family, great memories.

    Marlene Mombourquette, Family by marriage
  • These photos bring in some of the many people who, along with Carol, fought successfully for legalized midwifery.

    Brian Burtch, Husband
  • April 29th marks the first anniversary of Carol's passing. I invite her friends, family, former clients and co-workers to join me in honouring her memory however you see fit. I will reserve the day to be with close friends, to revisit a place we often visited, and to have time on my own. Best wishes, everyone.

    Brian Burtch, Carol's husband
  • Of all the "firsts" (birthdays, anniversary, Thanksgiving) since Carol passed in late April of 2020, the stretch leading up to Christmas and through to New Year's Eve was the most difficult for me. Carol thrived at Christmas, putting her all into hosting dinners and gatherings, decorating the tree, reaching out to loved ones near and far. Please join me in celebrating her passion for life and staying healthy and strong throughout 2021.

    Brian Burtch, Carol's husband
  • I only met Carol once for 5 minutes and she was exactly as Brian would describe many times as we enjoyed hanging at the pool. I don’t know how long you need to know someone in life but I was glad to meet her that day!

    Barry Cummings, Friend of Brian’s
  • One of the most moving events in my life was attending the 1993 ICM Congress. So many people contributed to the success of that Congress, the first time (I believe) that it had been held in a country that had not legalized midwifery. I was on the Scientific Committee and of course witnessed some of the great effort to make this Congress a success. Now, 27 years later, I am still greatly moved by the moment when then NDP MLA and Minister of Health Elizabeth Cull stood before the delegates and announced that the provincial government would move to legalize midwifery. Kudos to Our Carol and to the many other key people who worked on many fronts to realize this.

    Brian Burtch, Carol's husband
  • The world was lucky to have Carol in it. Every day she made the world better with kindness, generosity, positivity and love. I was lucky to have known her.

    Rory Green,
  • Greetings, everyone. This is a post I put on my Facebook feed and Carol's Facebook feed. Sharing it here FYI. Thanking everyone who has given so generously to this fundraising initiative and who have posted messages. This is greatly appreciated. Today's Facebook message: Today would be Carol's 74th birthday and she is top of mind. I am grateful for the kind messages sent to me, honouring Carol and boosting my spirits. I'm managing as well as could be expected, grateful for a caring family and a wide range of friends that we developed over the 34+ years that we were together. I am staying put in our home in North Vancouver, keeping to the wise advice to not do anything major in the first year as a widower. I see our three grandchildren in Ladysmith about once a month. Those grandkids and their parents are my "bubble" during this pandemic. . The first thing I saw from the bedroom window in the early morning was a Spotted Towhee in our weeping birch tree. Within seconds, it joins its mate as they fly and bop about the lawn. Carol often associated birds with visits from the faithful departed. I’m going with that tradition. I will see a friend for coffee this morning and then friends are bringing takeout food from Indian Fusion for dinner here. Here is another moment. I purchased a 7" by 7" art block at 32 Books yesterday. One of our traditions was to shop there for special occasions. The art block features a drawing of a bird (note that I say "a bird"; Carol would have identified it properly!) and a short excerpt by Anne Lamott, author of BIRD BY BIRD and many other fine books. The writing captures something that Carol and I found as we forged a life together: "I do not understand the mystery of grace, only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us." After purchasing the block, I realized that it is from a Gulf Islands craft studio co-owned by a woman who Carol helped in childbirth 30 years ago ❤️❤️ Full circle there. Here is an update on Carol's legacy. I put an obituary notice in the Vancouver Sun and the Province a couple of weeks ago. A more detailed obituary was in the North Shore News. That NSN obituary gives a better sense of Carol's character and her contributions. https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nsnews/obituary.aspx?n=carol-hird&pid=196352343&fhid=15039 I am grateful for Carol's legacy. I have received many kind wishes through email, phone calls, cards and such. UBC has started an award in Carol's name. It is meant to help students in their midwifery program (so fitting). https://memorial.support.ubc.ca/carol-hird/ The Lions Gate Hospital Foundation is also collecting donations in her name. Again, very fitting given her years of service in LGH and our support of the oncology clinic and the North Shore Hospice. https://lghfoundation.com/tributes/carol-hird/ McKenzie Funeral Services has set up a permanent Memory Page which features many tributes and photographs. https://www.mckenziefuneralservice.com/memorials/Carol-Hird/4208138/index.php Finally, GSWS (Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies) at Simon Fraser University kindly arranged for 10 memorial trees to be be planted in Superior National Forest in Minnesota. This is so in keeping with Carol's love of nature. I hope that all of you are keeping well. As Carol would often say, "Love you to the moon and back". Please join me in celebrating our Carol. Happy birthday, darling. Brian Carol Hird Obituary - Visitation & Funeral Information

    Brian Burtch, Carol's husband
  • I also worked in healthcare on the North Shore but never had the pleasure to know Carol. We met through bookclub and to know her is to love and admire her. Carol was always kind and her perspective added so much depth to our discussions The best memories are all encompassing hugs, a genuine interest in you, a welcoming and beautiful home filled with loved treasures and always lit candles. Not to mention delicious and interesting food served with the perfect beverage, be it tea or wine. The laughter and shared fun surrounded all of us. Carol was good fun! Her bravery through her cancer journey was so forthright and her missives were reassuring. The musical selection tagged on at the end of the email would lead me to ponder the selections. I would play and listen as I read her latest communication to her circle of friends. Carol was a blessing and her place will be forever in our hearts.

    Karen Nitzek, Fellow Book Club Friend
  • I met Carol in the early days of the midwifery movement in BC in the 1970s.. Carol was an able leader of maternity services, bringing with her a humane and confident approach to everything she did. We both became involved in the establishment of midwifery in BC. I will never forget Carol with her fiery red hair, and her deep knowledge. We were, in the early days, for a time joint Presidents of MABC. Carol helped establish the first School of midwifery in BC, set up for lay or community midwives before regulation. Her standards were always exacting. Later, as President of ICM she presided over midwives around the world, when her own country Canada was finally integrating midwifery into the health services and registering midwives. Carol joined the Master's of Midwifery programme established in TVU London, so we worked together again. I caught up with Carol in Toronto at the Triennial Conference of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) 3 years ago. We marched through the streets together in the parade that marked the opening ceremony. Despite her illness her energy was high, and I saw the life force that dominated her illness. It is impossible to sum up a loving and wonderful life in a few words. Carol's love,intelligence, knowledge and compassion made our world a better place. As far as midwifery goes, Carol was a key figure in bridging the midwifery that emerged from a vibrant activist community in BC, and the world of health services midwifery was to join and help transform. as President of ICM she led the international development of Midwifery, bringing her political understanding and commitment to the world. We will miss her very much.

    Lesley Page CBE Professor in Midwifery, Friend and Colleague
  • Carol was a friend and treasured member of our book club. Carol was a voracious reader whose contribution to any discussion about books and life was always insightful and articulate. She was kind and compassionate and made each member of our club feel valued for their opinions. We laughed and cried together and she always made us feel welcome in her home. Carol was special in every way and her joie de vivre will be how I remember her forever.

    Jan Martin, Book Club friend
  • Carol was a treasured friend and colleague of mine for many years. One of my favourite memories is travelling to Kobe Japan In 1990 and watching with pride as Carol was inducted as the new President of the International Confederation of Midwives. As a midwife myself and a colleague of Carol’s, it was an especially proud moment for me to witness. After the conference, Carol and I toured together for a week, experiencing more of the Asian culture. For years afterward we reminisced about drinking champagne and laughing for three hours straight with a hilarious steward in our surprise business seat upgrade en route to Hong Kong. We spent a fabulous four days experiencing awesome dining and shopping in that wonderful city. I will never forget this special professional and personal life experience that we shared. This award is a wonderful way to honour an icon of Canadian midwifery.

    Patty Keith, Friend and colleague
  • I was a grad student in the U of Alberta midwifery program when Carol welcomed thousands of delegates to the International Confederation of Midwives in Vancouver in 1993. I remember Carol on that stage. She was a brilliant light of hope; passionate, articulate, poised and an inspiration to my newly forming midwifery identity. I was starstruck. She was a Midwife Superhero! Later I had the pleasure of getting to know Carol as a colleague and mentor. i would discover that she was also kind, funny, compassionate, generous, fearless and patient. Carol was hopeful and enthusiastic about possibilities. We have lost an amazing person and midwifery champion. This award is a wonderful legacy of Carol's enduring contribution to caring for people. Thank you Brian and family for your shared passion and loving Carol so well.

    Kim Campbell RM, Friend & Colleague
  • I had the pleasure of meeting Carol a small handful of times. While I couldn't say I knew her personally, her presence was always felt and her name frequently mentioned in my work with the Midwives Association of BC, the Canadian Association of Midwives and the International Confederation of Midwives. I am one of a younger generation of midwives, having graduated from UBC in 2012, who have benefited immensely from the brave work Carol did. Thanks in part to Carol, I had the privilege to train and pursue regulated midwifery in my home province. I now devote much of my effort to ensuring that aspiring midwives in other Canadian and international jurisdictions have the same opportunity. As past president of the MABC and president elect of CAM I feel I have stood upon Carol's shoulders, so to speak. I'm so thrilled there is a memorial award to contribute to

    Alix Bacon, RM,
List of Donors
All Donors
  • Claudie and Ron Graner

  • Sarah Rice

  • Hal and Gordon

  • Brian Burtch

  • Carol Joan Rogers

  • Brian Burtch

  • Brian Burtch

  • Brian Burtch

  • Vera Berard and Patrick Berard

  • Christine Hird and George Robinson

  • Donald Wells

  • Nadeem Parmar

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