Former BBC reporter names son after St Albans

FORMER BBC reporter Siobhan Courtney has named her first baby after the city in honour of the “many happy memories” it has given her.

Siobhan, 28, formerly a reporter for BBC Newsnight, BBC Breakfast, One and Six O’clock News, gave birth to Alban Gyles, who weighed 7lb 12oz, on March 25 in Barnet Hospital.

The birth of Alban was described as “against the odds and unbelievable” by Siobhan, who suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and had been told that it was unlikely she would have children.

The condition is one of the leading causes of fertility problems and affects millions of women in the UK.

Siobhan became one of the BBC’s youngest presenters at just 25 after securing her own weekly show, broadcast on BBC World News to an international audience of 65 million viewers. She also made history as the corporation’s first interactive reporter and presenter after being asked to be the face and voice of BBC News Interactive across national television and radio. Although no longer at the BBC, the broadcaster and presenter now freelances.

Siobhan explained that her son was named Alban as she and her boyfriend Keith Gyles, “wanted something a little bit different and something that had meaning to us both.

“I thought that’s really unique and had a lovely feeling to it. Also, when my boyfriend and I started dating we spent many happy hours in St Albans enjoying all the wonderful, historic places the city has to offer.

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“The fact that Saint Alban was the first British Christian martyr makes the name even more special. I’m a Catholic and I love the fact that Saint Alban continues to be venerated in Catholic communions. However, we’re waiting to see whether our little man’s sleeping habits will be saintly – I suspect not.”

She described baby Alban as a very “sweet-natured” boy and while on maternity leave, said she was looking forward to showing Alban the city and the likes of “beautiful” Verulamium Park.

Family and friends are already abbreviating the name Alban for the six-week-old baby, with Albie and Alb proving popular, but Siobhan prefers, “the original Alban, and his daddy and I are sticking with that.”