The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is urging people to sign its petition for 5,000 more midwives - and has received celebrity backing with just one day left before it closes.

The RCM has currently got more than 72,000 signatures, but need 100,000 by August 22 for the campaign to be debated in Parliament.

And, with the clock ticking down, a number of celebrities have come forward to support the campaign. England footballer Theo Walcott, whose mum worked as a midwife, is one celebrity backer, while actress Jessica Raine, who starred in the BBC drama series Call the Midwife, is another.

Theo Walcott said; "I have grown up knowing how important midwives are because my mum was a midwife for the NHS and also worked independently. She taught mums about healthy eating and giving babies the best start in life. I support the RCM's campaign for 5,000 more midwives because we need more midwives and role models like my mum. Please support midwives and sign the e-petition."

His mother Lynn said: "There are so many sacrifices that midwives make for their profession. We don't need midwives who are bystanders with plastic gloves on. We need more midwives to empower women to help educate them to give back choices and options for women before, during and after childbirth and to teach mothers about breastfeeding and home birth."

RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick added: "We are touched and delighted that so many high-profile celebrities, actors, actresses and footballers are backing our campaign. The Government know there is a problem and a dire shortage of midwives, and are committed to training more midwives, but what is needed are more midwifery jobs."

Story posted by Robert Mair on 21 August 2012