Mum’s got 17 kids… now I’ve got 3 by the age of 21
Britain’s biggest family: the next generation
THE Radfords, from TV show 17 Kids and Counting, captivated the nation by raising Britain’s biggest brood with no handouts from the state.
The public was in awe of how they coped and now eldest daughter Sophie Radford has provided another twist to the family’s saga.
She is the first of the brood to get married and had a secret under her beautiful gown — her third baby.
Despite swearing she would not follow in her mum’s mega-broody footsteps, she will be a mum once again at the tender age of 21.
But where her and Mum do agree is that Sophie too will work for her family and not claim benefits.
The Sun exclusively went along to the first Radford wedding, where Sophie spoke about believing she has now completed her little family and her joy at marrying boyfriend Joe Broadley, 22.
Radiant Sophie, whose baby boy is due on New Year’s Day, says: “It was a surprise and a massive shock. I was on the contraceptive injection.
“We were quite upset at first but we’re over the moon now.
“He will definitely be our last. Our house will be full up.
“Although I can’t say the same for Mum and Dad, you never know with them.”
The Radford family, of Morecambe, Lancs, shot to fame as the stars of Channel 4’s 16 Kids and Counting.
Although the couple say they were never actively trying for more kids, mum Sue was not on the Pill and happy to let nature take its course.
Sue, 40, and Noel, 43, have been married for 23 years and added to their own brood just nine weeks ago, welcoming Hallie to the family.
The tot is a much-needed bundle of joy after the tragic loss of their son and Sophie’s brother Alfie, sadly stillborn last year.
Sophie, mum to Daisy, two, and Ayprill, ten months, says: “I was carrying Alfie in my heart on our special day. It was incredibly sad that he wasn’t there but we will always carry him with us.”
Despite needing 126 pints of milk, 21 loaves of bread, 14 boxes of cereal and 28 toilet rolls a week the Radfords still don’t claim benefits and are proud to make their own way in life.
Sophie, who moved out of the family home three years ago, is keen to follow suit. She and her new husband claim no benefits either — she works part-time in the family bakery and he is employed as an electrical wholesaler. The pair, who rent their own home, only receive child tax credits.
While Sue and Noel have loved having a massive brood, Sophie wasn’t convinced it was for her.
So when she announced her third pregnancy, many thought she had changed her mind and was starting another mammoth family.
Sophie says: “Mum always jokes that I’m not going to stop at three.
“She thinks I will have eight, but that’s definitely not going to happen.
“When we told her about baby number three she was delighted, she’s always happy when a new baby is coming along.
“She said, ‘I bet this one’s a boy,’ and she was right.”
Joe proposed to Sophie in November by surprising her with a bouquet of flowers with a diamond ring tucked inside a rose and a note reading: “Will you marry me?”
Sophie was ecstatic and got into the swing of wedding planning, only to discover she was pregnant in May. Luckily she had chosen a flowing dress that didn’t need to be taken out at the waist.
She sparkled in the ivory gown at Belsfield Hotel in Windermere, Cumbria.
Without state handouts everyone chipped in to fund the special day. Sophie says: “I never expected to be walking down the aisle pregnant. But everything was absolutely perfect. It went just how we wanted.
“I burst into tears before walking down the aisle and Joe choked up during the vows. Other than that it was all smiles.”
The venue was decorated in blue and ivory flowers and ribbons, matching the dresses of the bridesmaids.
They were Sophie’s best friend Debbie Freeman and sisters Chloe, 20, Millie, 13 and 12-year-old Katie as well as flower girls Ellie, ten, Aimee, nine, and five-year-old Tillie. Sophie’s eldest brother Chris, 26, was an usher.
The rest of the Radford lads — Jack, 18, Daniel, 16, Luke 14, James, 11, Josh, eight, Max, seven, Oscar, three, and two-year-old Casper — were Sophie’s pageboys. Sophie says: “It was amazing to have everyone play a part in our special day. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
After spending their first night as a married couple at the hotel, Sophie and Joe headed home to Heysham, Lancs.
Sophie says: “We’re not planning a honeymoon. We’re just getting the house sorted for the baby. Once he has arrived we’ll take a family holiday.”
Besides the initial shock, Sophie says being a mum comes naturally to her after watching her parents for years.
She says: “She hasn’t given me too much advice about being a mum, I learned a lot from her growing up.”
Just like their glam wedding, Sophie says being part of the biggest brood in Britain is lots of fun.
She adds: “Growing up in a big family was amazing. You’re never lonely, there is always someone there for you.
“The main reason I don’t want a big family for myself is I want to get out and work full-time. I’m not one for staying at home all day.
“But I can’t wait to meet the new arrival. Who knows if it’ll be the last?”
Family’s typical daily consumption
Three loaves of bread, two boxes of cereal, 18 pints of milk, two big bags of apples, eight bananas, bag of oranges, 16 pork chops, 15lb of potatoes, three cabbages, 30 carrots, 6 to 12 loads of laundry, one bottle of washing-up liquid, one bottle of fabric softener and four toilet rolls -The Sun.co.uk