New dad Chris does the conga!

First baby of the New Year born at Whiston Hospital Daisy with her parents Chris Leatherbarrow and Nicola McLellan
First baby of the New Year born at Whiston Hospital Daisy with her parents Chris Leatherbarrow and Nicola McLellan

AS an aspiring Super League referee Chris Leatherbarrow is used to keeping his eye on the clock.

But the delighted dad admitted even he was stunned when he was told his newborn daughter was the first to be born in Whiston Hospital this year.

Chris and fiancee Nicola McLellan’s daughter Daisy Olivia came into the world weighing six pounds and three and three quarter ounces at 3.01am on New Year’s Day.

The 22-year-old, a Super League touch judge who already referees at Championship level, said the date of his daughter’s birth - 1/1/11 - made it “extra special”.

Chris, from Coleridge Avenue, Dentons Green, even left Nicola side for a couple of moments at the stroke of midnight at New Year to initiate an impromptu conga dance with the midwives!

“Daisy was due on January 5 so we knew there was a possibility she might be born around New Year,” he told the St Helens Reporter.

“Nicola went to see a local midwife on New Year’s Eve and had a contraction while she was there so we knew the baby was on the way.

“The midwife actually told us there was a chance Daisy might be the first baby born in the New Year and she got it spot on. It’s a great feeling to know that Daisy was the first baby born in St Helens in 2011. Nobody will ever have any excuses for forgetting her birthday!”

Factory worker Chris, who refereed the Leigh vs Salford pre season game on the Boxing Day bank holiday, had hoped that Daisy might share the same birthday as Nicola’s grandmother - December 31.

But the young couple, who plan to tie the knot in a couple of years so Daisy can act as bridesmaid, were still delighted when she came into the world on New Year’s Day, beating another St Helens couple to the first newborn baby of 2011.

Little Daisy is already very well behaved too - sleeping through until two or three o’clock every night.

Chris, who hopes to become a full time rugby league referee in 2012, added: “The buzz of having our first child is very different from the buzz of being involved in a Super League game. Obviously, as a referee, you’ve got to focus on being consistent and firm but fair. But becoming a dad was a real emotional rollercoaster!”