Meet the family that has five generations of women in it
A family spanning five generations of women, separated by 83 years from oldest to youngest, are celebrating the arrival of their newest female member.
Eleanor Arundel, 23, welcomed her daughter Gracie Mae, now six weeks, on March 11 2022.
Gracie’s gender was a lovely surprise to great, great grandma Margaret Newsome, 83; great grandma Karen Wilcock, 63; Grandma, Rebecca Williams, 42; and mum Eleanor Arundel, who are all former or current NHS workers.
The quintet generation family, from Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, have spent their time celebrating the arrival, despite a rocky start during her premature birth.
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“My partner, Christian, 27, and I decided we didn’t want to know the gender so kept it as a surprise until Gracie Mae was born," Arundel, an NHS healthcare worker, explains.
“She came five weeks earlier than expected, so she was in the NICU for 11 days which was really upsetting.
“My mum didn’t get to meet her until she was out, even though she works at the same hospital where she was born."
Grandma, Williams, an NHS patient access co-ordinator adds: “It was devastating not being able to be at Eleanor’s first birth, and to see Gracie face to face when she was born.
“It was even harder passing the NICU unit and knowing she was in there but not being able to visit her because of all the COVID-19 restrictions still in place.”
Gracie Mae is the first great-great grandchild within the family, and everyone hopes she'll follow in her female relatives' footsteps with a role in the NHS.
“Everyone has been quite shocked that there are now five generations," Arundel explains.
“A lot of people guessed it was going to be a girl, but one of the midwives was adamant that I was going to have a boy.
“We’re definitely a big group of maternal women, my great nan, Margaret, was one of ten, and as family there are a lot more women than there are men.”
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Williams added: “Eleanor is my first daughter, so it still hasn’t set in that she’s a mum now too!
“I guessed from the start that she was going to have a girl, and I was absolutely over the moon.
“Eleanor is one of four, I’ve got two girls and two boys, but the whole family leans more towards strong women and girls than the men."
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Williams says since Gracie has been home from the NICU, she, her mum and grandma haven't been able to put her down.
“Every time Eleanor comes to visit, it’s like a conveyor belt of passing the baby round,” she says.
Great grandma Karen Wilcock, an NHS healthcare assistant, adds: “Eleanor was the first one for me as a granddaughter and I was over the moon, so I know how Rebecca feels - it’s such a lovely feeling.
“For Gracie Mae to have all these grandmas in her life, it’s lovely for her.
“She is loved by everybody.”
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The family aren't the only ones celebrating a strong female bias amongst their relatives, with another family spanning an incredible six generations of women.
Separated by 98 years from oldest to youngest, the family recently celebrated the 100th birthday of their great-great-great grandma, Rose Sharp.
Mother-of-eight Sharp is head of a huge family and has an incredible 92 grandchildren including her great-great-great descendants.
"It does get confusing with so many of us,” Sharp's great-granddaughter Joanne Pendrigh says.
“I have tried to find other families with six living generations but I think we are quite rare.”
Additional reporting Caters.