A midwife has received a surprise invitation to a Buckingham Palace garden party.

Gillian Simpson, who has worked at Bradford Royal Infirmary for more than 40 years, said she was taken aback when she received the exclusive invite from the West Yorkshire Lord Lieutenant, Ingrid Roscoe, on behalf of the Queen.

The 59-year-old midwife was nominated for the honour by work colleagues who felt she deserved royal recognition for her efforts on the labour ward as she approaches retirement.

Mrs Simpson, who works as the labour ward’s co-ordinator of midwives and will turn 60 on December 4, said: “I was so shocked when I opened the letter. It came as such a surprise to me that I just started crying.

“You just get on with the job and you would like to be liked but you never really know if you are or not, and then something fantastic like this lands on your lap and you are just in shock.

“I feel very privileged to have been nominated and it is an honour to represent the Trust at such a fantastic occasion.”

Mrs Simpson has already picked her outfit and has fingers crossed for good weather.

She will be accompanied to the garden party on June 3 by her husband, Robert, and was nominated by fellow midwives Rachel Douglas and Clare Cummings.

They said she made everyone feel valued and supported on a very busy labour ward.

“She is enthusiastic and dedicated to helping women achieve natural births and enjoys working with the women at such a special time in their lives,” they added.

“Gillian is a role model to junior staff. She loves her job and will be sorely missed when she retires.

“All her colleagues agree that she deserves recognition for her hard work and devotion, not just to the NHS, but to the women of Bradford.”

As labour ward co-ordinator, Mrs Simpson manages the midwives on a shift. She qualified from St Luke’s Hospital in 1973 as a nursery nurse and worked in the special care baby unit until she started midwifery training in 1975. She qualified as a midwife in 1977.

She added: “The garden party invitation is such an honour and will be the pinnacle of my career.

“I just love the work, love the mums, babies and the staff – I am passionate about the BRI as I think it is a great hospital.”