‘We were the most wanted children ever’ - Lauren and Brodie Lyon speak for the first time about the controversy of their births
- Credit: Archant
“The best and most loveliest parents in the world” that’s how March siblings Lauren and Brodie Lyon described their mum and dad - Pauline and Dave Lyon.
In 1995 the couple were vilified in the national press when it was revealed Mrs Lyon was set to become Britain’s oldest mum at the age of 52. A title that she lost a couple of year’s later to a Welsh woman.
Now 20 years on their daughter Lauren and her younger brother Brodie, 16, have described their parents as “the most loving and wonderful” mum and dad you could wish for.
The March family spent many years in the media spotlight because of the ‘hoo-hah’ surrounding Lauren’s conception and her subsequent birth.
Mrs Lyon lied about her age to receive IVF treatment to conceive Lauren telling specialists at the posh Lister Hospital in London she was 45 even though she was 52 at the time.
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“We were desperate for a baby, we had hoped it would happen naturally after we were married, as Pauline was only 45 at the time. But it just didn’t happen, so we decided to try IVF. We had three attempts, and if it hadn’t worked the third time we would have had to have given up because we just couldn’t afford another go.
“When the specialist saw Pauline’s age on a form he advised us to go away and knock a few years off. We wouldn’t be considered for treatment otherwise, even though we were paying for it. So we did and fortunately Lauren was conceived,” explained Mr Lyon, a retired Whitemoor prison officer.
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“We never would have gone public, it was not something we considered doing. But unfortunately someone tipped off the Daily Mirror and the first we knew about it was when it was splashed across the front page. I didn’t want to go out and see people after that, I drew the curtains and hoped the press would just go away.
“But actually it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it eventually helped us to go on and have Brodie,” explained Pauline.
Lauren’s birth in April 1995 prompted more controversy with debates about the age women should be allowed to have a baby featuring regularly on television programmes and in the national papers.
But despite all the negativity the Lyons remained strong and have proved the nay-sayers wrong with both their children happy and succeeding in life.
Lauren, 20, is about to start her third year at university with plans to go on to become a teacher. While Brodie, who passed all his GCSEs with good grades only last week, is set to return to Neale-Wade Academy to study four A-levels in English, government and politics, sociology and biology.
Mr Lyon, who is now 71, has health issues and is waiting to undergo heart surgery, but his wife at 72, is still fit and healthy apart from slight arthritis in her shoulders.
“People said we were wrong to have a baby when we were at the age most people become grandparents, because we wouldn’t be around to see them grow up. But you could say that about anyone, you never know what’s going to happen. People also thought the children would suffer because we wouldn’t be able to keep up with them and do things younger parents do with their kids.
“But it has never been a problem. In fact I think it’s kept us young. We have done everything for our children, we are very close and they know how much they were wanted,” said Mrs Lyon.
“I have always known about all the press coverage and about the fact my parents are older. It was just there. I grew up for the first years of my life in front of a camera. In fact when I turned 18 I even got a charm for my bracelet in the shape of camera to celebrate that fact.
“The one thing Brodie and I have always known is how much we were wanted. I think we were the most wanted children ever. We have never wanted for anything, and I think we are so lucky to have our parents, because they are so loving and they are probably more relaxed because of their age and life experiences.
My friends at uni love listening to dad’s stories, and when I showed them my memory box they couldn’t believe just how much we were wanted. They all think I’m lucky to have such wonderful parents,” said Lauren, who is at university in Canterbury.
Brodie said: “We know they are old, and I do sometimes cringe when mum uses words that show her age. But it has never been a problem or bothered me. The only real downside is the fact they are both retired and never have a reason to be out of the house for any length of time, and that can be a bit frustrating. Sometimes you just want a bit of space,” said Brodie, who was named after Mr Lyon’s former prison boss Brodie Clark.
But he admits he regularly has house parties and recently hosted an after prom party where his proud mum ensured no-one went hungry by serving up an array of snacks and pizzas.
The brother and sister have a close relationship with their half-sister Lisa from Mrs Lyon’s first marriage, but sadly the same cannot be said of their other three half-siblings on their dad’s side.
They are in contact with Mr Lyon’s eldest daughter, but have little or no contact with his other daughter or son.
“It is really sad, but they are just not interested and there is nothing I can do about that,” said Mr Lyon.