Grandad set to be a father for the seventh time at the age of 74 after 32-year-old wife becomes pregnant (and his first son is 51!)The father of six and grandfather to ten will welcome a child next yearHe is refusing to rule out more children with his 32-year-old wife
23:18 GMT, 30 December 2012
Late bloomer: Mike Armitage, 74 is about to become a father for the seventh time
Like most men his age, 74-year-old Mike Armitage could reasonably be expected to be reaching for his slippers and taking it easy.
But instead he’ll soon be reaching for the nappies again. For Mr Armitage is about to become a father for the seventh time – almost 52 years after the eldest of his children was born.
The father of six and grandfather to ten is preparing to welcome another child next year with 32-year-old Lyndsey, his third wife.
And, far from shying away from the demands of fatherhood, he refuses to rule out the possibility of having even more children.
He said: ‘People shake their head and say, “Why do you want to put yourself through all that again” But age is just a number and I feel young at heart.
‘I don’t know how long I’ll live, but I’ve been given a second chance at fatherhood.
‘Every minute of the day is precious to me and I intend to grab it with both hands.’
Mr Armitage, from Ash, Surrey, first became a father in 1961 when his eldest son Glen was born.
Back then, a pint of beer cost around six pence and few people outside of Liverpool had heard of The Beatles.
Fatherhood was also very different in those times, explained Mr Armitage – who was 21 and serving as a merchant seaman off the coast of Africa when he received a telegram telling him of his first child. ‘It was nothing like today,’ he said. ‘I missed out on their childhood. In my day fathers didn’t get involved in bringing up children, you did your bit and then it was up to Mum.
‘There was no such thing as paternity leave. Money was pretty tight and I was at work a lot. And when the other children arrived it meant make do and mend and hand-me-downs.
‘We had an old-fashioned pram –the kind where you used the wheels to make a go-kart.’
He and his first wife went on to have another three children, Lynne, Neil and Lee, over the next ten years. They divorced and Mr Armitage married again in 1991. His fifth child Thomas, now 18, was born. Divorce, however, soon followed.
Then in 2010, at the age of 72, Mr Armitage, now married to administrative worker Lyndsey, became a father for the sixth time when she gave birth to Paul.
Having missed out on the birth of most of his previous children Mr Armitage said fatherhood is a much more hands-on experience for him this time round.
‘I was there when Paul was born and I regret not being there for the others. It was a miracle,’ he said.
‘The one bit of advice I’d give to any potential new dad is make sure you are there or you’ll regret it.’ He added: ‘To be honest it was only then I started changing nappies full time. I went to antenatal classes.
‘I did get a few funny looks along the lines of “what is grandad doing here” – but it was fine.’
Speaking of their next child, Mrs Armitage, who is due to give birth in June, said: ‘We’re over the moon. We both came from a big family. When we had Paul, that was the first time Mike had been involved at every step of a pregnancy. Now he knows what to expect and is such a support.’
On the possibility of having more children in the future, Mr Armitage said: ‘I’ll never say never again. I’ve got good genes. I don’t drink or smoke, and I eat plenty of fish. We’ll just have to see what happens.’