22 and counting: meet the family with two soccer teams' worth of kids

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Suzanne and Noel Radford have welcomed 22 children in the past 33 years. (Photo: Instagram)
Suzanne and Noel Radford have welcomed 22 children in the past 33 years. (Photo: Instagram)

Suzanne Radford has spent more than 16 years of her life pregnant – but she wouldn’t have it any other way, even if being cooped up with all her kids during lockdown was a nightmare.

Over the past 33 years she’s given birth to a total of 22 kids, including her latest arrival, who was born last year.

She and her husband, Noel, from Morecambe in the United Kingdom, met when Suzanne – or Sue as she’s known – was only seven. A few years later they started dating and Sue was just 13 and Noel 17 when they conceived their first baby.

With the help of their families, the teenagers managed to successfully raise Chris, who’s now 32 and married with two kids of his own.

After marrying Noel in 1993, Sue fell pregnant another 21 times.

Her brood includes Sophie (27), Chloe (25), Jack (24), Daniel (22), Luke (20), Millie (19), Katie (18), James (17), Ellie (16), Aimee (15), Josh (13), Max (12), Tillie (11), Oscar (nine), Casper (eight) Hallie (six), Phoebe (four), Archie (three), Bonnie (two), and Heidie (one), who was born last year.

Sadly Alfie, their 17th child, was a stillborn in 2014.

Over the years the family have become famous for their reality TV show, 22 and Counting, which documents their lives and shows how Sue and Noel manage to cope despite all the challenge they face in raising their enormous brood.

Although she’s been pregnant for almost two decades of her life you’d never guess it, looking at the 46-year-old’s toned figure.

In a recent Instagram story post, she shared a mirror selfie of herself in a blue floral dress.

 

“Feels like forever since I’ve worn a dress. I’m not normally a dress person but I’m absolutely loving this one,” she wrote.

While her two eldest kids have moved out of home, the other 19 are still all under one roof, which proved a real challenge during lockdown.

In a YouTube video, Sue admitted that she was tearing her hair out trying to homeschool her kids.

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“I’ll tell you what, I will be so glad when homeschooling is finished,” she said. "I don’t know about anybody else but I am just so ready for them to go back to school.

"I am finding it really hard work especially when we’ve got so many to homeschool it’s just not been easy.”

Grocery shopping is another big challenge with the family consuming 56 sausages, 16 bottles of milk and four loaves of bread a day, as well as three tubes of toothpaste, 80 yoghurts and 24 toilet rolls per week.

The Radfords rely on the pie shop and bakery they established in 1999 to support themselves financially.

Through hard work and dedication, they’ve been able to raise their children and were even able to move into a spacious 10-bedroom home.

Yet they, like millions of people around the world, were hit hard by the pandemic which forced them to temporarily close shop.

According to Noel on average the household needs about $4 million (about R56m) annually to keep everyone fed.

“So it’s a lot of pies we’ve got to sell to support us all!”

“It’s a huge responsibility having 22 kids,” he adds. “I try not to let it get to me.”

Thankfully the family managed to move their business online, and they’re now back on track financially as lockdown restrictions have eased.

Sources: Instagram, The Sun, Radford Family.com, The Sun

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