Thirty Babies, Four Weddings and One Big Reunion

Chiswick babysitting circle turns clock back 30 years to when it all began

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A Chiswick babysitting circle has been reunited 30 years after it was first set up in 1978. A dozen families gathered for a party at St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall, in Bedford Park on Saturday April 26th.

The picture (below) shows all the ‘babies’ blowing out the candles on the cake. The oldest is 30-year-old Ben Hourahine. The youngest – who was born some years after the babysitting circle broke up – is Ellie Douglas, aged 17.


There was live entertainment from a rock band, Two Pints Before Lunch, formed for the evening by three of the parents. Don Moorhouse, Lyn Hourahine and Bryan Stevens have performed separately in bands over the past 30 years, but this was the first time they'd played together.

To help the celebrations go with a swing, Fullers brewery gave a discount on a firkin of London Pride. One of the parents, Torin Douglas, said “It was a great evening. I think our offspring only turned up to humour us, but they really enjoyed it too, as the picture shows.”

The babysitting circle was formed after two neighbours, Ann Sainsbury and Judi Hourahine, began sitting for each other after their first children were born. They invited other mothers from ante-natal classes and birthday parties, and the circle flourished till the mid-Eighties. For several years, they held Christmas parties for the children, upstairs at the Wimpy bar in Chiswick High Road.

Judi Hourahine explained how it came to an end. "When we started to return to work or had more children it became more complicated, time was precious, the children were no longer babies and we started to pay someone to sit for us instead."

But the mothers have remained friends and regularly meet up for a pizza evening, which is where the idea for the reunion was born. And now there are wedding bells. Four of the children are getting married this year.

May 10, 2008