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How a family with THIRTEEN children spends Christmas

PUBLISHED: 15:02 23 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:37 24 December 2019

Gareth Hunt with his partner Ellie Godbold and five of their 13 children, Rheanna, Annemarie, Daisy, Lily and Poppy. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

Gareth Hunt with his partner Ellie Godbold and five of their 13 children, Rheanna, Annemarie, Daisy, Lily and Poppy. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

Archant

For some people, a £3,500 lump sum would mean a trip of a lifetime to the Maldives or a deposit on a dream car.

Gareth Hunt and his partner Ellie Godbold are busy preparing for Christmas with their 13 children. Picture: Lauren De Boise.Gareth Hunt and his partner Ellie Godbold are busy preparing for Christmas with their 13 children. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

But for Gareth Hunt from Bradwell, near Great Yarmouth, who has a family of 13 children, this amount is spent on just one day alone - Christmas Day.

The 58-year-old has seven children with partner Ellie Godbold, 55, and both have three children from previous relationships, which means they can cater for upwards of 15 people on Christmas day.

And while Mr Hunt, a prison officer at Norwich prison, never mixes up the children and can reel off their birthdays, the festive period demands extra attention.

Mr Hunt said: "I would describe our Christmas as very busy. Everything is done with military precision planning that starts in October. But we have had years of practice now."

The couple spend most of the money on the six or seven presents each of their children - who range in age from 12 to 34 - unwrap.

Christmas dinner accounts for a small portion of the bill, as Mr Hunt and Ms Godbold, who currently have six children living with them at their six-bedroom detached home, try to be savvy with their food shop.

However the couple cook Christmas dinner, which includes around 80 pigs in blankets and more than 50 roast potatoes, without much help.

Mr Hunt said: "Ellie does most of the cooking and we start prepping it on Christmas Eve. We just get one extra large Turkey from Tesco and cook that on Christmas morning. We do have some help from the children but I am on washing up duty which normally takes me an hour and a half on Christmas Day.

Gareth Hunt and Ellie Godbold's children take a picture in height order every Christmas. Picture: Gareth HuntGareth Hunt and Ellie Godbold's children take a picture in height order every Christmas. Picture: Gareth Hunt

"We then all sit around and eat it - but we do need two tables to fit everyone."

Mr Hunt said there were not any family squabbles over dinner, but added there were some teenage antics with five children aged between 12 and 20.

He said: "I just leave them to it. But they all love each other a lot. We are very family-orientated and we all love Christmas. It is one of my favourite times of year and I always look forward to spending quality time with the family. Most of Christmas Day we just spend our time talking and listening to each other."

Do you have an unusual family? Email ruth.lawes@archant.co.uk

Gareth Hunt with his partner Ellie Godbold and five of their 13 children, (from left to right) Annmarie, Rheanna, Daisy, Lily and Poppy. Picture: Lauren De Boise.Gareth Hunt with his partner Ellie Godbold and five of their 13 children, (from left to right) Annmarie, Rheanna, Daisy, Lily and Poppy. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

Christmas Eve

10.30am - Breakfast at Wetherspoons.

8.30pm - Mr Hunt reads the Night Before Christmas. In an unusual family tradition, and because he knows the words off by heart, he holds the book upside down.

9.30pm - The children get a new pair of pyjamas for Christmas Day.

Christmas Day

7am - Turkey goes in the oven.

9am - Children open their stockings. They all sit on their parent's bed while they unwrap presents.

10am - As tradition, the family take a picture of all the children in height order on the stairs.

10.30am - Presents under the Christmas tree are opened.

12pm - Preparation begins on roast dinner trimmings.

2.00pm - The family tucks into Christmas dinner.

3pm - Everyone watches the Queen's Christmas speech.

5pm - Mr Hunt does the washing up. It takes an hour and a half.

7pm - The family plays board games, alternating between Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit.

8pm - Cheese and biscuits time. Smoked cheese is the family favourite.

10pm - Family settles in to a Christmas movie marathon. Their top three picks are: Love Actually, Home Alone and Miracle on 34th Street.


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