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  Inside Out - North West: Monday May 26, 2003

MODEST SUPERMUM EXTENDS FAMILY FURTHER

Chloe and Alex Bell
Chloe and Alex Bell eagerly await their new arrivals
Support for families and carers of children with Down's syndrome
Watch Alex's original interview
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Alex Bell has won a prestigious Carer of the Year award, met Sir Paul McCartney and had her garden transformed by Handy Andy.

But the Salford mum says none of this compares to welcoming new additions to her family.

Alex Bell has already adopted seven children who have Down’s syndrome.

Read Inside Out’s original story about Alex.

But Alex is about to extend her family by adopting two more children.They are a brother and sister aged four and five years old.

"There’s just so many children in care who haven’t got a chance of finding a family," says Alex, "And we’ve got spare bedrooms!"

Recognition

The arrival of her eagerly-awaited siblings are the end of busy few months for Alex.

Chloe Bell with Ant and Dec
Chloe entertains Ant and Dec at the ceremony

In March she received a Pride of Britain award at a star-studded ceremony in London.

"I was terribly embarrassed about the whole thing. I don’t understand why people think this is special. It’s just what I do."

"I’m not a supermum. There’s lot of other women who are doing a damn good job of being parents."

Despite her embarrassment, Alex hopes that her award will raise awareness of adoption and the difficulties of caring.

"I just hope that my award doesn’t make other carers feel inadequate because they are only caring for one or two children or elderly relatives. That would be a very negative thing."

Serenade

All Alex’s children attended the ceremony. Mathew, Alex’s 20 year old son sang to his mum in front of the celebrity-filled audience, earning the family a standing ovation.

Alex says, "Anybody who knows Matthew knows that you don’t give him a microphone. I thought that he was going to do an hour’s cabaret."

"They were all perfect on the stage. I am so proud of them."

Attention

The Bell family in Hyde Park
The Bell family in Hyde Park before the awards

As well as the award Alex picked up a few fans. These included none other than Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Heather Mills.

"We were invited to his concert at the arena. The kids loved it. They’re still rocking!"

Alex also had her garden decked by Changing Rooms’ Handy Andy.

"People recognise us everywhere, which never fails to amuse me. The children think it’s fantastic. They think they are very special, which of course they are."

Busy

As well as rearranging the family home in preparation for her new arrivals, Alex has various other projects.

DOWN'S SYNDROME

1 in every 1000 babies born is born with Down's syndrome.

Approximately 600 babies are born each year with the condition.

It was first described by John Langdon Down in 1866.

The chances of a woman having a child with Down's syndrome increase with age.

Source: The Down's Syndrome Association

As a Governor at her daughter Chloe’s School, she is arranging its grand opening ceremony. This will be conducted by actor Ross Kemp.

And she’s also got the dilemma of trying to locate a nine-seater bus to carry all the children around.

"I’m hoping to sort out an American import because they make things much bigger. But how we are going to finance it I don’t know!"

When asked whether these will be the last additions to her family, Alex simply says, "Probably. But only because we’ve run out of bedrooms. That’s the only thing that stops me."

See also ...

On the rest of Inside Out
Original story

On bbc.co.uk
BBC: Adoption - the practicalities
BBC: Down's syndrome

On the rest of the web
British Agency for Adoption and Fostering
The Down's Syndrome Association

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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