Boys still rule the roost on the houseboats

Lucy Gill with Otto, left, and Ruth Hender with Hollis
Lucy Gill with Otto, left, and Ruth Hender with Hollis

TWO women from the Shoreham houseboats have given birth a day apart.

The friends, who joined forces last February to run the Brighton Half Marathon, both had boys, in keeping with houseboat tradition.

Out of the last dozen babies born in as many years to Riverbank residents, only one has been a girl.

Ruth Dudman gave birth to Hollis on March 16 at Worthing Hospital, followed by Lucy Gill giving birth to Otto at home on March 17.

Otto’s birth was straightforward and natural but created a small drama when he decided to arrive while the midwife was away at another delivery.

Lucy was using a birthing pool on the family’s houseboat but things rapidly changed from slow to fast, just at the point when they had agreed there was plenty of time for the midwife to go back on land to help with another mother.

Luckily, the houseboat residents span a good range of occupations and a neighbouring midwife was nearby, ready to help out, if required.

In the meantime, the call-out for the midwife to return prompted the arrival of an ambulance, complete with flashing blue lights.

Neighbour Mike Wooldridge said: “A bit worrying for onlookers, except the proud mum, who found the birth straightforward and natural.”

The newborns were brought together for a “week one” photo, taken by Tom Keeling, Otto’s father.