Proud dad Tom with newborn Safiya (Saffie) Ellaline Gale, born to his wife Basma at QEQM Hospital, Margate, the fourth grandchild of Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale and his wife Suzy.
A wonderful early Christmas present is being celebrated today by Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale and his family.
Sir Roger and wife Suzy were on tenterhooks last night when they received a call from their youngest son Tom to say their fourth grandchild had at last arrived.
Safiya "Saffie" Ellaline Gale arrived a few days earlier than expected, following four days of false starts and a couple of overnight stays at the QEQM Hospital, Margate, for mum Basma and Tom.
She arrived just before 10pm last night, a source of great joy to the whole family.
It is hoped young Saffie and her mum will be allowed home today - Tom and Basma live literally on the doorstep of the senior Gales at Preston, near Canterbury, a proximity which Suzy Gale says they are “absolutely delighted” about.
Their other grandchildren are son Jasper’s children Perdy, three, and Clarissa, one month, who live in Lincolnshire and daughter Misty’s son Soren, nearly two, who lives in London.
Sir Roger has described the experience of being a grandparent in waiting.
He said: “I was on a Eurostar train travelling to a Parliamentary Assembly meeting in France last Thursday when it became apparent that the first daughter due to my youngest son, Tom, and his wife, Basma, was preparing to make an appearance.
“Hard to concentrate on even a matter as important as the breakdown of democracy in the Ukraine when you are texting your wife, the future grandmother, to try to monitor not only the issue in hand but also the pending birth of a child.
Safiya (Saffie) Ellaline Gale, the fourth grandchild of Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale and wife Suzy.
“A father, at the birth of his child, can be of some use and comfort to his wife and to those around him.
“Grandparents, as I ought to have learned by now, are utterly useless and can do little except sit and wait and worry! It was a little short of 10pm, having not taken in the Strictly Come “Dancing semi-finals or most of the Sportsman of the Year Awards, when we learned that the little lady had made her entrance. Mother, and child, and father are, as they say, doing well.
“I do not care for “social media” and I do not, ordinarily, bare my private soul in public but I hope that you will forgive me if I take this opportunity to thank the NHS in general and the wonderful staff, from ancillaries through student midwives up to consultants and everyone in between, at the Margate maternity unit for the care, attention and genuine affection that my family have received during the past few months and over what seemed like a very long weekend before the baby, that at times I feared might never make it, finally turned up .
“The Gales’ Christmas present has arrived early. May Suzy and I and our newly-extended family wish you all a happy, a healthy and a peaceful Christmas also.”
For a full report of how Sir Roger continued with his MP's duties in Thanet, while waiting anxiously for news, see this week's Thanet Extra.