Parents across the region celebrated the start of 2024 in the most magical way - with the birth of a child.

It was a New Year's Day to remember for these four sets of parents who welcomed their little bundles of joy into the world on January 1.

Meet babies Theodore, Ava, Daisy and Freddie, born on the maternity wards of Durham and Darlington today.

Theodore Richards

The Northern Echo: Baby Theodore Richards with mum Danielle and dad Leigh.Baby Theodore Richards with mum Danielle and dad Leigh. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

Little Theodore Richards arrived after a whirlwind labour shortly before 5am on Near Years Day.

Mum Danielle, 30, was due to have a C-section on Tuesday (January 2), but the scrub nurse woke up having contractions at 2am this morning.

Three hours later at 4.54am baby Theodore arrived at University Hospital of North Durham weighing 6lb 11oz.

Dad Leigh, a highways foreman from Crook, County Durham, said: “He’s definitely a bit of a miracle.

“We’d been trying for four years and got put forward by the NHS for IVF at the Life Centre and it worked first time.

The Northern Echo: Theodore Richards, born at 4.54am.Theodore Richards, born at 4.54am. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“We were supposed to have a C-section tomorrow but Danielle woke up at about 2am with contractions.

“It just happened so fast. We got to the hospital for 3am and by 5am he was here.

“We were planning to take down the Christmas decorations today for him arriving!”

Ava-Maria Duff

The Northern Echo: Ava-Maria Duff, born at 5.24am.Ava-Maria Duff, born at 5.24am. (Image: FAMILY)

Tia Johnston and fiancé Jack Duff got quite the shock when baby Ava arrived almost a month early.

Ava wasn’t due to arrive until January 25, but was desperate to see New Year’s Day being born at 5.24am weighing a tiny 5lb 4oz at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Mum Tia, 25, a hairdresser, from Darlington said her and fiancé Jack Duff, 26, a supermarket worker, were delighted, if not a bit shocked, to meet their Ava Maria Duff.

Tia said: “It was quite a shock really – she wasn’t due until the 25th of January so it happened all quite quickly.

“It just went from being in a little bit of pain then suddenly I was in labour.

“Maria was my grandma’s name who died on December 29, 2022.”

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Daisy Wright

The Northern Echo: Daisy Wright with mum Megan.Daisy Wright with mum Megan. (Image: FAMILY)

Little Daisy Wright arrived a week early at Darlington Memorial Hospital at 8.43am on New Year’s Day.

Daisy, named after mum Megan Wright’s grandmother, was born to her parents’ delight weighing 8lb 4oz.

Megan, 33, a pharmacist, and husband John, who works in forestry, from Willington, went into hospital on New Year’s Eve.

John, 29, said: “We came in last night at about 10.30pm. We got New Year’s Eve child free at least.”

The pair are hoping to get home soon so Daisy can meet her big brothers, aged five and 14.

Freddie Lander

The Northern Echo: Freddie Lander with dad Robert.Freddie Lander with dad Robert. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

Baby Freddie Lander was born at the University Hospital of North Durham at 9.45am on New Year’s Day weighing 7lbs and 15oz.

Mum Dani, 34, a designer and dad Robert, 35, who works for Leeds Building Society, live in Spennymoor and were married a month ago.

Robert said they were delighted to meet Freddie who had to be delivered using forceps.

He said: “He took a while to come out so they had to intervene.

The Northern Echo: Freddie, born at 9.45am.Freddie, born at 9.45am. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“It did get quite dramatic in there and was very emotional.

“It is such a relief to see our son finally and to hold him.

“And as he was born on New Year’s Day I won’t ever have to worry about forgetting his birthday.”