By Lucy Notarantonio
A first-time mum was devastated when her special day was cancelled but she never imagined she’d get a drive-by baby shower.
Natalie Gray, 26, was awoken by a knock on the door on May 3 – it was the first of three gifts to arrive – followed by a tea party with a virtual quiz – set up by her partner Matt Andrews, 34.
The dancer was ‘overwhelmed’ but her baby shower didn’t stop there – the grand finale was a drive by of 20 cars honking their horn with handmade banners to celebrate impending birth of her new baby.
Natalie, says it is ‘strange’ being pregnant during lock-down as she has to attend hospital appointments alone and family members aren’t able to see her bump grow in the flesh.
Natalie, from Blackpool, Lancs, said: “Matt rang me from the front garden to say there is something wrong with the car but as I got outside I heard a load of cars – honking their horns.
“I was literally crying – happy tears – from 9.30am!
’They had banners, balloons, and cards – it was so nice to see everyone from a distance.
“I didn’t expect anything from anyone so it was a total surprise and I was completely overwhelmed that people had given their whole day to us.
“Even the neighbours were out and we were the talk of the street on Thursday during the NHS clap which was quite nice.
“We will keep the signs, cards and everything else forever in a box.”
Natalis says her original plan for her baby shower was to have a BBQ with her friends and family.
She added: “I thought my suppose-to-be baby shower would be like any other day during lockdown which involves lounging around in my pyjamas or a bit of DIY.
“I had three separate knocks on the door from friends who had left a teddy-bear cake and a new top with a note telling me to ‘get ready for the day’.
“I have been living in lounge-wear so I thought my friends wanted to cheer me up with a new top but then the door knocked again with a teddy bear cake and a basket full of lovely messages from friends.
“I was looking around for my bestt friends Joanna Hilton, 30 Amy Mantle, 31 Emma Sheldon, 28, who had left the gifts but they must have found a good hiding spot!
“I couldn’t believe the girls had gone through the effort of collecting prediction cards from others which was a really nice touch as every one was different as they made them at home.
“Matt, who is a singer, cooked me a lovely breakfast which we ate in the garden – he had decorated with buntings and teddy bears – I thought that was it but then Matt turned on the laptop and there was a load of video messages from school friends, colleagues and even my 82 year grandpa.
“Then we were joined by 20 friends on Zoom for a baby themed quiz.
“I was so chuffed with the effort put in by everyone!”
“It is strange being pregnant during lock-down as I thought I would be with my family and friends a lot more and Matt can’t even attend appointments with me.
Natalie, who is 37 weeks pregnant, began to feel tired from all the fun and her friends had left her another gift – personalised silky pyjamas which she thought was the end of the surprises.
And last but not least, Natalie had a treasure hunt to complete which ended in her car boot which was filled with gifts for the baby who is due on June 5.
She adds: “I was in total shock all day – I couldn’t believe it, there was one surprise after the other.
“It was more than I would have ever imagined – we have got the best memories now and I can’t wait to show the baby!
“I was really emotional all day and when I saw the gifts in my boot, it was the cherry on the cake really.
“There was a beautiful handmade play quilt, personalised dressing gown, toys, sensory gifts and clothes – we have been so spoilt.
“We now have the most amazing memories forever which will treasure for ever – the original BBQ plan would have been good but this was much better.”