Evening Telegraph, 26 Jan 1972, Interview by 'Ruth'
The Baby with 30 grandparents
They call Edward Smith, the bonny fellow in the picture, the only baby with over 30 grannies and grandpas. Most of them are honorary ones, of course, but they all take a great personal interest in him. For his mother, Mrs. Susan Smith, of 12 Hall Drive, Finedon is a very important person in their lives.
Rushden-born Susan, who spent most of her spare time as a child on her grandparents' farm in the Bedford Road, was 25 and the mother of two little girls under five when it occurred to her that there were a lot of elderly people in the Court Estate area who had no convenient club to join.
"It meant them going two miles into Rushden if they wanted to go to Darby and Joan Club meetings, so I though thev should have something handier", said Susan, when I met her at her home.
Never a girl to let the grass grow under her feet, Susan went straight into action. She let her plans be known that she was starting an independent club for the over 60's - and a dozen people turned up for the inaugural meeting in a private house. That was eight years ago.
"We had to think up a name, and because we were meeting in a house, somebody suggested that we call ourselves the Housemartins," said Susan.
The membership is limited to about 30 if it got any bigger it would be too unweildy but there are plenty of friends to fill a coach for the many outings that Susan organises.
The Housemartins' meetings are held fortnightly at the home of one of the members, in Newton Road, Rushden. "We nearly always have a speaker. I think it's important for elderly people to keep their minds active," Susan told me. "A talk gives them something to think about. We have a busy programme throughout the year."
And she went on to tell me plans for all sorts of outings and social activities for the coming months a beetle drive, a half-day coach trip through the countryside on Easter Monday, a week's holiday at Weston Super Mare in May. An outing to the Cotswolds in June, a strawberry tea, four days at Blackpool in September to see the illuminations, a fish and chip supper the treats are endless.
"We never have any trouble filling a 51-seater coach," said this dynamic young woman, who takes on mast of the organisation side, herself. "I know I can always call on my helpers if necessary," she said. But it is she who books the coach, she who arranges the year's programme and finds the speakers, she who books the holiday accommodation.
She looks after her neat-as-a-new-pin home, a husband, two schoolgirl daughters, Rachel (10) and Sarah (13) and her new son, Edward, who is eight months old.
Edward & Susan
"He is a very good baby - no trouble at all, and the girls are marvellous with him. They can feed him and change him," said his proud, mother.
She is obviously a very happy and energetic person, always busy. Having plenty to do keeps her fit, she said. As if all her voluntary work she's a Meals on Wheels helper at Rushden too, did not keep her busy enough, she encourages her daughters to take up outside activities, and was holding a coffee evening at her home for Rachel's Girl Guide friends on the day I called.
Edward has surely made history by attending his first Over 60's meeting before he was three weeks old.
"We call him the only baby with more than 30 grandmas and grandpas” said Susan. "They all want to have him on their laps if I take him to a meeting".
Special events, like the fashion show arranged for the Housemartins in November, their Christmas party and their New Year's Day fish and chip supper, are held at the sports pavilion lent to them by John White’s.
Susan’s husband Barry joins in with the holiday in May, and cine films are taken of the Housemartins enjoying themselves.