Millennium baby is growing up

OH baby, just look at you now! Little Billy Caiger hit the headlines when he was the first baby to be born in Ipswich Hospital this millennium.Although he wasn't due until around two weeks later Billy burst into the world at 2.

Rebecca Lefort

OH baby, just look at you now! Little Billy Caiger hit the headlines when he was the first baby to be born in Ipswich Hospital this millennium.

Although he wasn't due until around two weeks later Billy burst into the world at 2.10am on January 1, 2000, to the delight of his parents, Kate and Charlie, his two sisters, Claire and Jessie, and all the staff at the hospital's maternity unit who had been waiting in anticipation for the first birth.

Now he is eight, Billy, who lives in Castle Street, Framlingham, is proud of his birthday and confident about the life ahead of him.

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“It does feel special, but it can also be a bit embarrassing,” said the Sir Robert Hitcham's Primary School pupil.

“When I tell people I was the first baby they are interested and that does make it a bit special.

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“I'll remember it as something different forever.”

His mum certainly remembers the day Billy was born, although she wasn't expecting him to appear until January 14.

Mrs Caiger, 41, said: “I went into labour on New Year's Eve and I couldn't believe it! I was saying 'This baby is not coming out on New Year's Day - it isn't the plan'.

“But he did and he was fine. I was quite excited to learn he was the first baby born at the hospital that year, but it didn't really sink in for a while.

“The midwives made a big fuss of him. One of them gave him a hat they had knitted - though it didn't fit because his head was so big.”

Billy, who weighed 8lbs, was also given a teddy and a commemorative spoon which were presented to all eight babies born at Ipswich Hospital on New Year's Day 2000.

Since January 1, 2000, Billy has lived the life of most young boys. He is a keen sportsman who enjoys football, rugby and tennis and aspires to be a professional goalkeeper when he grows up, with a spot of building work on the side!

He is also an enthusiastic chess player, plays the guitar and likes riding his bike, although that hobby has landed him in some scrapes over the years.

Billy, who has recently become a Cub, said: “I've cycled into a ditch where there were stinging nettles - people didn't know where I was.

“I remember when I cycled into a little post made of wood and hit my bottom!”

In fact in most ways Billy is just like any other eight-year-old. It is simply his moment of birth which marks him out, a dramatic moment which even impacted on his siblings.

When he was born, the whole family, including Mr Caiger, 44, Claire, 13 and Jessie, 11, were interviewed by journalists keen to hear from the family of Ipswich's first child of the millennium.

Big sister Jessie even admitted “It was quite cool” and Mrs Caiger added: “It is really nice to think he was the first child, it won't ever go away.”

In profile: Boy with a wide range of interests

KATE Caiger was surprised when Billy arrived two weeks early, and also surprised when she realised he was a boy after two girls before him.

But the surprise was a good one and Mrs Caiger said she was so proud of her special eight-year-old.

Looking back at her Billy's young life she said: “He was quite an early walker and he's always been healthy, he's fit and loves his sport.

“It was great having a boy. But by having two older sisters he's quite sensitive and considerate. It takes the rough edges off him and he has a good sense of humour.

“He does funny things every day; he's quiet at school but he's fair and he's on the school council representing his class.

“I think he's quite popular because he's doesn't show off and is modest. He likes to try everything.”

She said she was especially proud that Billy had recently had a go at maypole dancing, despite only one other boy taking part.

“He was totally unfazed by it. He has got a strong presence of mind and isn't bothered about what other people think,” she said. “I am so proud of him.”

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