Others were out drinking and letting off fireworks, but the New Year was rung in very differently at Kingston Hospital.

There were 20 babies, 10 boys and 10 girls, born on New Year’s Day in the busy maternity department.

Celebrating soon after the clock struck midnight were Dominique Lecky and her husband William, known as Bill. Their son William was born at 12.23am weighing seven pounds and 12 ounces.

Dominique, from Hampton, said: "I was actually in the hospital when the birth started. They were having bets on the ward to see who would have their baby on New Year's Day. They told me I was odds-on favourite so I was a little under pressure.

"My husband was keeping an eye on the clock to see what the time was going to be.

"All the fireworks were going off when he was being born. It'll be a good time to celebrate when he's older.

"It feels great and we are all absolutely delighted with him. He's a great new year's present really - it's fantastic."

Another early arrival was a boy to Sarah and Richard at 1.57am weighing eight pounds 11 ounces. He has not been named yet.

Sarah, from Richmond Hill, said: “We're so excited to have our beautiful little boy. It feels quite surreal to be honest. I feel almost like I'm looking in on myself. We're getting to know each other - he's perfect.

“We had a bit of a race to see who was going to be the first baby of the new year. He's definitely a little man of his own mind - he decided that he wanted to see the new year in.”

Husband Richard joked that he was “proud, obviously, and bewildered.”

A Kingston Hospital spokeswoman said: "The maternity unit was very busy throughout the New Year's Day and the team coped brilliantly with the arrival of 20 babies.

"We would like to say a big thankyou to everyone on the team who helped to deliver the babies and look after their mums and dads too.

"It's great to be able to welcome so many new babies into the world at the start of 2013."