THE birth of Ashley Ainsley three weeks ago has led to the remarkable feat of two families, one in Wensleydale and the other in Darlington, both extending to five generations.

"It hasn't sunk in yet, it was quite a shock," said John Sloan, 89, of Gilling Crescent, Darlington. He shares the honour of being a great-great-grandparent with Hilda Thwaite, 88, of Little Ings, Hawes.

"I don't feel any worse for it," chuckled Mrs Thwaite. "I am very proud to be a great-great-grandmother. He is the first one."

She does have 24 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Many of them still live in Wensleydale but her first great-grandson, Matthew Teesdale, now lives and works in Darlington.

He is the proud father of Ashley and lives with Claire Ainsley in Fenby Avenue, Darlington. Both are 21.

Matthew's mother, Diane Stephenson, 40, who lives in Bainbridge, said she had not expected to be a grandmother so soon.

Her mother, Evelyn Moore, 69, of West Burton, was just delighted, with her husband, Trevor, to be a great-grandparent. Mrs Moore was the first of Mrs Thwaite's 12 children.

Ms Ainsley said all her family were equally delighted. On her side there is grandmother Jacqueline Ainsley, 45, and great-grandmother Maureen Day, 67.

They are all in Darlington, where Mr Sloan has lived since he was given to a Salvation Army family as a foster child when he was just a few months old.