Britain’s most devoted great-grandmother has celebrated her 80th birthday – joined by her six children, 36 grandchildren and 44 great-grandchildren.
Leila, whose late husband Bill tragically passed away three years ago, turned 80 on Friday (7/10).
The couple spent most of their married life in the Abbey Hulton and Bucknall areas of Stoke-on-Trent, where they started their giant family.
Their first addition, Graham, was born in 1957, followed by Colin, Jill, Mandy, William, Paul, Peter and Leila.
The first of Leila and Bill’s children to add to the brood was Colin, who had daughter Susan, now 40, and son William gave the family the newest grandchild Delilah, eight years ago.
Susan then gave birth to Leila’s first great-grandchild David, now 17, and the latest addition, Leila’s 44th great-grandchild Harrison Massey, was born on Thursday (6/10).
Leila said: “Some of my 36 grandchildren haven’t got married yet so there could be even more great-grandchildren on the way.
“It’s lovely being part of such a big family. There is always someone at my house or on the phone. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Leila’s children say she asked for a quieter affair for her 80th birthday – but soon realised the numbers wouldn’t all pack into her home and held the event at Bucknall Ex-servicemen’s Club in Stoke-on-Trent.
Leila added: “I was going to have an open house, but they told me with all the relatives we should probably hire somewhere.
“To be surrounded by my family was wonderful. There’s a lot of us but we’re very close.”
Leila’s daughter Mandy Hutchinson, 54, of Eaton Park, Derbys., says her mum knows the name of every single relative.
The full-time mum-of-five, who lives with her husband Michael, 57, a site supervisor, said: “It’s lovely to see her enjoy the party. I think we must be one of the biggest families in the area.
“Whenever there’s a big birthday, a christening or a special occasion, we all come together as a family.
“Most of us live in and around Stoke, but some of the family are in Liverpool and Hull.
“It was a brilliant party. There were so many kids and no one cried or had an accident which is a miracle in itself.
“We are such a close-knit family. Mum was devastated when my dad passed away.
“He was walking to the bookies and had a massive heart attack. He died in the bookies.
“She was so upset so we all rallied round and we make sure she’s not by herself or feels alone.
“At the moment, she lives with her niece Pat who moved back from Australia to look after her.
“Mum’s first son Graham passed away from liver failure about 12 years ago and her other son Paul set fire to himself in a car.
“My son David also passed away five years ago and he was only 30. He was her first grandson.
“It’s fair to say she’s been through her ups and downs.”
Daughter Gillian Davis, 55, of Northwood, Derbys., who has four children, said: “You were never lonely growing up as there were just so many of us.
“We may not have had lots of valuable things but we were always in a house that was full of love.”
Niece Suziie Davis, 40, a social worker, said: “I went to live with her when I was a baby. Bill’s mum Minnie was the matriarch of the family and then when she passed away in the 80s it went to Leila.
“She’s just so wonderful and caring and not matter your problem, she will try and solve it for you.”
Latest addition Harrison, who was born on Thursday (6/10) at Staffordshire Maternity weighing 7lb 7oz, enjoyed meeting his great-grandmother as the family continues to expand.
His dad, and Leila’s grandson, David Massey, 32, said: “She’s amazing. She’s the strongest woman I know.”