Donna’s phobia about undercooked chicken had it’s origins at the end of January 1989. We had been round to have a meal with our friends Phil and Heather Playfoot, who were former Roffey students, now pastoring a church in Horsham. They served us chicken, which unfortunately was undercooked. Donna, perhaps not as socially confident as she became in later life, eat it without passing comment, but knew that at the very latter stages of her pregnancy, it was probably not the right thing to do. Sure enough she got food poisoning and went into premature labour! A quick dash to Cuckfield Hospital and she was attached to a drip which delayed the onset of labour for a week until the baby was due.

Alana was born on Monday 6th February at Cuckfield Hospital, and the attending midwife was Anne Blake who is Georgie Goddard’s sister. It was reassuring to have someone who was related to us as the midwife, as although we had done this before, the food poisoning had been a worrying affair.


The hospital was having a very busy day. It was not only a small hospital, but the maternity rooms were tiny as well – barely enough room for the midwife and one other. All of a sudden there seemed to be an emergency down the corridor, and Anne disappeared out of the room. As she flew out the room she threw a gown at me and said “Get gowned up!”. Not what someone as squeamish as me, wanted to hear at that moment. It was enough being present at the birth without having to assist!

Fortunately for me, the emergency was dealt with, and Anne returned. However, I just couldn’t do anything right. They had shown me at the anti natal classes how I was supposed to massage my wife’s back to relieve pain, but I was told in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t doing it right! Next Donna took objection to my aftershave, it was making her feel sick! I washed my face, but that wasn’t enough, I had to take my shirt off as apparently that smelt of the aftershave as well. Donna has always had a very good sense of smell! Oh for the days when the only thing a father was expected to do was pace up and down the corridor outside and when everything was done, he would be handed a clean, freshly washed baby!!

We were amazed when she was born at just how much hair she had – and how it stuck up on end! What a wonderful little bundle of joy.