Say hello to Sunderland's Leap Year babies

Iain Ray with Libby Grace
Iain Ray with Libby Grace
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Little Ayla Rose Hall, Libby Grace Ray and Sienna Elizabeth Coates are three babies in 1,461.

That’s how many days the trio will have to wait to celebrate their first ‘real’ birthday after putting in an appearance at Sunderland Royal Hospital today – Leap Year Day.

Ayla Rose Hall

Ayla Rose Hall

Libby was the first arrival of the day, weighing in at 7lb 12 oz at twenty past midnight, after mum Melanie Smith spent 24 hours in labour.

“We came in about half eight in the morning and I thought I’d be home for the League Cup final, which didn’t happen,” said partner Iain Ray.

Iain, 32, works for EE at Doxford, while 29-year-old Melanie is employed by npower at Rainton Bridge. The couple, who live in South Hylton, are looking forward to introducing Libby to Iain’s five-year-old daughter Molly.

“She has been asking ‘Have I got a baby brother or sister yet?’ every time she comes out of school,” said Iain.

Bradley Coates with Sienna Elizabeth

Bradley Coates with Sienna Elizabeth

“I think she will be over the moon that she has got a sister.”

Bradley Coates loved being at the birth of daughter Sienna, a first child for him and partner Tanya Abidi, both 23.

Sienna, born at 2am, weighed 7lb 4oz.

“All the lads at work were telling me ‘You need to be there, it is something you will never forget,’ and they were right,” said Bradley, who works at car parts firm Unipres.

“I would love to see it all again.”

Tania, who works for Hays Travel, was coming to terms with being a mum: “It is amazing,” she said.

Nineteen-year-old Shannon Hall was also finding it a little hard to believe after the arrival of Ayla Rose, which was born shortly before 3am and weighed just over eight pounds.

Shannon, from Thorney Close, said: “It feels different – it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” she said.

“She keeps stirring in her sleep and I jump up to check on her.”