MIDWIVES at Bradford's award-winning birth centre delivered a right royal welcome today.

The Princess Royal spent an hour visiting staff, new mums and their babies at Bradford Royal Infirmary in her role as patron of the Royal College of Midwives.

In turn, Her Royal Highness was one of the first to welcome baby Joseph Oyeniyi into the big wide world. The tot was born just two hours earlier to 34-year-old mum Theresa Kumatia-Owusu, of Allerton.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The Princes Royal with Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire Ingrid Roscoe and head of mdwifery Julie Walker to welcome baby Joseph into the world in his mum Tina's arms as his uncle looks on

The visit, which included a tour of the birthing pool room, gave BRI the chance to showcase the work being done at its award-winning maternity unit where 5,820 babies were born last year.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Abid Hussain, applauds after Jessica Wilkinson, ten, presents a posy to the Princess Royal in front of her proud mum Kathryn (second left) and acting chief nurse Sally Scales

Ten-year-old Jessica Wilkinson, whose mum Kathryn is a Women's Services PA at the hospital, got the day off from Wilsden Primary School so she could present a posy to the Princess Royal after unveiling a plaque in the unit's Parent Craft Room.

The royal visitor took a moment off from handshakes to have a laugh with the schoolgirl, telling her she was lucky being inside with the posy because normally she'd be out on the doorstep.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Liz Firth, chairman of Bradford and Airedale Maternity Partnership, who is due to give brith to her second child this week, meets the Princess Royal

During the visit, led by Julie Walker, head of midwifery, the Princess Royal heard about the £49m Lottery-funded Better Start Bradford project working to give babies and young children in some of the city's most deprived areas a better start in life.

Within the wards of Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton, about 1,430 babies are born each year – there are high rates of infant mortality and child poverty, low school readiness, and high rates of domestic violence and child protection orders.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Theresa Kumatia-Owusu and her newly-born son Joshua meet the Princess Royal

She was told about the landmark Born In Bradford research project, one of the biggest and most important medical research studies in the UK, which is charting the lives of thousands of children born in the district to help find out more about the causes of childhood illness by studying children from all cultures and backgrounds as their lives unfold.

Professor Clive Kay, chief executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the maternity unit had lots to be proud of and to show off to the Princess Royal.

"We are extremely honoured to welcome the Princess Royal. We've got a busy maternity unit here with a diverse ethnic population," he said.

"We're very well respected and have great team spirit.We've got so much to be proud of and to showcase as a centre of excellence."

Midwifery matron Alison Powell, who was one of the staff presented to the royal visitor, said: "Just before the Princess  Royal arrived I got an e-mail I shared with the staff from a family thanking us for their wonderful birthing experience so it's not just HRH's visit we are celebrating it's also what a wonderful, hard working team we are."

Ms Walker, said the Princess Royal was "very receptive and interested" on the tour round the unit, especially hearing about the maternity partnership ongoing in the city listening to women's voices and trying to give all mums-to-be a good and normalised birthing experience.

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Abid Hussain, who was also there, said the visit was a boost to the city, giving Bradford an opportunity to promote itself.

"It's an honour the Princess Royal has visited Bradford. The maternity unit and its work is just one of our city's many achievements that we want recognised," he said.

Professor Lesley Page, the president of the Royal College of Midwives, described the unit as exceptional.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Clive Parkman, managing director of Airedale International, gives the Princess Royal a tour of the company's state-of-the-art factory

Later, the Princess Royal officially opened Airedale International’s new state-of-the-art factory in Rawdon which was built after the cooling systems manufacturer suffered a major fire in September 2013.

The royal visit culminated in the unveiling of a commemorative plaque within the reception area joined by staff from all areas of the company. 

Clive Parkman, Airedale International managing director, said: “It was an incredible honour to receive this visit by the Princess Royal, and one that our employees will remember for years to come.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The Princess Royal unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening of Airedale International's new factory

"We are very proud of our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities here in Rawdon, and the teams that run them, so it was a pleasure to be able to present these to such a prestigious guest.

"We are very privileged that The Princess Royal has taken such interest in our work and the future of British manufacturing. 

"We have been working incredibly hard since moving here in January 2016 and this is a great way to celebrate the best of British manufacturing and the dedication and effort each of our teams have put into the business."