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Glad to be a granny - at 36!

PUBLISHED: 14:39 24 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 12 July 2010

Tara Bailee, left, with daughter Rickeita Harvey and granddaughter Lexie.

Tara Bailee, left, with daughter Rickeita Harvey and granddaughter Lexie.

WITH the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe, Britain is witnessing the emergence of a new kind of grandma - glamorous, 30-somethings with not a blue rinse in sight who love to go out clubbing with their friends.

WITH the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe, Britain is witnessing the emergence of a new kind of grandma - glamorous, 30-somethings with not a blue rinse in sight who love to go out clubbing with their friends.

Take bubbly Tara Bailee from Harleston, who was just 35 when her daughter Rickeita Harvey gave birth to baby Lexie, now eight months old.

People cannot believe she is old enough to be a mother-of-four, let alone a grandma. And the family will be featured on BBC3 programme Britain's Youngest Grannies which will be screened at 9pm on Monday.

“I was 19 and a single mum when I had Ricci and it would have been better if she had waited another couple of years. She was 15 when I found out she was pregnant.

“It was quite surreal, we both sat there in the doctors like the penny hadn't dropped. We are really close, she tells me everything and we are more like sisters, and we go to the same shops.

“Some people look at it that she was probably encouraged to go out and get pregnant because she went on the pill. I was trying to make her safe really,” Miss Bailee explained.

Now 17, Ricci accepts she has missed out by having a baby at such a tender age.

But she would not be without Lexie for the world, and is hoping to go to university with the aim of becoming a midwife so she can help other young mums in the future.

“I was eight months pregnant when I took my GCSEs and got one A, two Bs and 10Cs.

“I missed out on the school prom because I couldn't fit into the dress and all my friends went to college in September, but Lexie was only three weeks old.

“If I had gone to college I think people would have criticised me for leaving her.

“So I am taking a year out and working part-time as a waitress, and Lexie goes to a child minder three days a week,” said Ricci, who spent six weeks in a hostel at Wymondham with her baby daughter before moving to her own home in Harleston.

She added: “I don't recommend having a baby this young. At 16 you don't imagine you will be running your own house and cooking and cleaning!”

The TV programme asks her mother and other young grandmas in their 30s: “Is it a nightmare to see your daughter repeat your 'mistake' by becoming a teen mum? Or can you have it all - a beautiful new baby in the family which you have the youth and energy to enjoy?”

And in this case, it is the second scenario that hits the mark.

Miss Bailee said: “I didn't like going out much as a teenager. I'd go to work, come home and watch TV with my mum. Now I love clubbing so much I'd go out every Saturday if I could. And when Lexie is six or seven I can take her on the bus and go shopping which is brill.”

Filming took place in January, the family one of four chosen across the country after Ricci replied to an advertisement placed on the Bebo website.

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