CHRISTMAS Day baby Brandon Thompson arrived two weeks early but his timing couldn't have been better for his delighted family.

Born at Bishop Auckland General Hospital in the early hours, the 7lb 8oz infant was back home in Shildon, County Durham, the same afternoon in time to make the big day complete for his mum Julie Wilkinson, dad Paul Thompson and 20 month-old brother Jaden.

After his surprise entry into the world at 3.30am, Brandon found Christmas a big yawn.

Even Jaden's new drum kit couldn't keep him awake as he was taken almost straight from hospital to meet his grandparents John and Alma Thompson, Uncle Carl Thompson and aunt Tracey Cleasby and cousins Carly Thompson, aged seven, and 11-year-old Stacey.

Dad Paul said yesterday: "We couldn't have had a better Christmas present. You couldn't top it, it was brilliant. He is doing really well.

"Jaden was born six weeks early and was in hospital for the first five weeks of his life but this was a lot easier.

"Julie went into hospital on the morning of Christmas Eve and he arrived on Christmas Day.

"We haven't had much sleep over the past two days but Brandon has been good. He has a pair of good lungs but soon goes back over. He is no bother."

There was another shock in store for a Teesside couple at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

Anna Hirst, 21, and Ian Terrett, 24, were expecting their baby on Christmas Eve - but couldn't believe how much Sue Mary weighed when she arrived just before 1pm on Christmas Day.

"She was 71b 3oz, which was a little bit of a surprise as all through my partner's pregnancy we were told the baby was going to be tiny," said Mr Terrett, of Acklam, Middlesbrough.

He said his girlfriend, of Newtown, Stockton, was tired, but delighted with her festive bundle of joy. "It's the best Christmas present you can ask for," he added.