Babies born during Christmas brought with them rays of sunshine to Epsom-St Helier hospitals in recent days despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A total of five babies were born at the hospitals on Christmas Day (Friday, December 25), with two babies born at Epsom Hospital and three at St Helier, the NHS Foundation Trust said.

Maternity staff working at the two hospitals to help bring the new babies into the world presented them and their parents with a teddy bear and a special message as a keepsake to mark the festive time of year.

Among the new parents celebrating a new arrival were Sara and John Mackay from Coulsdon, who were "delighted" to welcome their baby boy, Arlo Daniel Mackay, at Epsom hospital, 10.11am, on Christmas morning.

He weighed 3.26kg/7lbs13oz.

"Every baby born at the Trust is very special to their parents and to all the maternity staff too, but there is always something wonderful about having a baby on this date," Maternity Matron, Mary Willocks said.

"Midwives and hospital staff will certainly need a rest at the end of their Christmas shifts this year.

"This has been a challenging year for everyone in maternity, and we have put many additional measures in place to ensure our wards are safe and welcoming for parents-to-be and new families," she added, referencing the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on maternity care at the Trust.

"It is always great to welcome a new life into the world, and even more so for staff who work over the festive period".

Like the South-East as a whole, Epsom and Ewell is witnessing an alarming spike in new cases of coronavirus.

There were 590 new confirmed cases of the virus in the borough in the seven days up to December 29, according to Public Health England (PHE).

The rate has increased relative to the previous week too, up 21.9 per cent or 106 more new cases than there were in the previous seven days.