Britain’s biggest family, The Radfords, have visited Alton Towers – taking 14 of their 22 children out for the day after months cooped up during lockdown.
Sue and Noel Radford packed up five suitcases, two pushchairs, and loaded a 17-person minibus to visit the Staffordshire theme park.
There were three Radford generations on the trip, and it marked their first family outing since lockdown restrictions eased across England.
Photos show the family’s big day out – which involved playing a massive game of hide and seek and ordering serious quantities of snacks.
“You should have seen the look on the face of the person at the till serving us 17 hot dogs,” said mum-of-22 Sue.
At home in Morecambe, Lancashire, the family gets through 16 pints of milk and four loaves of bread a day, as well as 24 toilet rolls, three tubes of toothpaste and 80 yoghurts a week.
Noel and Sue admit the last year has been chaotic and challenging.
“You do feel like you are going a bit crazy because there are so many in the house,” Sue said earlier this year.
“The weather has been awful recently so there isn’t a lot you can do. You can’t escape either, as there is not a quiet place at home.”
But the big day out brought a breath of fresh air and Sue told the Daily Star it had been “an absolute treat”.
The Radfords had their “work cut out trying to match the kids’ energy” – but said the children “loved it and were completely knackered by the end.”
Now, they say they “can’t wait to do it again.”
Joining parents Sue (46) and Noel (50) were, Millie (19), Katie (18), Elle (15), Aimee (14), Josh (13), Max (12), Tillie (10), Oscar (9), Casper (8), Hallie (5), Phoebe (4), Archie (3), Bonnie (2) and Heidie (1), along with their eight-month-old granddaughter Ophelia, who is Millie’s daughter.
Sue was the designated height checker and head counter for the day.
The family started off with a splash in the water park before tucking in to a feast at the Rollercoaster Restaurant. They laughed with the Teletubbies in CBeebies Land and took a stroll in the expansive gardens.
Then, they enjoyed a new ride called “Gangsta Granny” – and the taller children braved the white-knuckle rollercoasters Nemesis and Oblivion.
They stayed in the Alton Towers Hotel and explored the resort’s Enchanted Village, with its fairy-themed woodland lodges.
Sue and Noel said: “Alton Towers Resort has been the best family escape we could have hoped for. With a brood as big as ours, it’s often tricky for us to find somewhere we can all go that everyone will enjoy.”
Lockdown has been especially hard for Radfords.
When Sue went to the supermarket early on in lockdown, people thought she was stockpiling.
“We have never once done that,” she said. “I have found it hard buying all the food with people thinking we are greedy.”
And she admits it’s hard to keep an eye on everyone.
At one point, some of the little ones got hold of scissors and started cutting each other’s hair.
Sue said: “We have had the haircutting incident twice now…”
But staying at home does have its advantages, and the Radfords wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sue said: “We are definitely closer as a family thanks to lockdown.”
But are they thinking about having a 23rd child?
“No, we are not having any more,” Sue said. “Definitely 100% not.”