ALL the dads (and mum) in this photograph have two things for certain in common - they work at GS Contracts and are part of the firm's recent baby boom.

In a year, 12 new babies were born including a set of twins, giving the Colchester company a dozen reasons to celebrate.

Alanna Chillingworth, the only mum among the group, gave birth to her second daughter in March last year.

The pregnancy was a shock given her eldest daughter is seven-years-old but her bosses could not have handled it better.

She said: "Once I got my head around the news, I realised I'd need to tell the company and thought, 'Oh, dear, I've only just started and now I'll be disappearing again'.

"But they were so good about it which made it really easy.

"When I found out I was pregnant this time, I'd only been at the firm for six months which is why I was particularly impressed they were so accommodating.

"I'd been at my old firm a long time when I fell pregnant with my eldest so they were almost expecting it, whereas this time around, no-one saw it coming.

"It was definitely a surprise but a nice surprise.

"The sleepless nights were a shock to the system but she's quite cute, so it's OK."

Alanna, who lives in Manningtree and is an estimator with the company, finished two weeks before she was due to give birth.

Her maternity leave was kept short, helped by an 11-month-old who "absolutely loves nursery".

"Touch wood she's never cried about going. Even on her first day, there were no problems at all which was so lucky," she said.

"Women shouldn't be nervous about telling their employers they're pregnant but it's such a big thing leaving your position for that amount of time.

"You just don't know how you or your colleagues will feel, or what reaction you'll get.

"It's ridiculous really as they're going to be happy for you but in your mind, you wonder how the conversation will go."

The family business, based on the Moorside estate, was founded in 1992 by chairman Gary Smith and his wife Sue - support services director.

Together they have grown the business to a team of 50-plus employees who refurbish restaurants and other commercial spaces across the country.

They surveyed the number of babies who joined the GS family between November 2017 and 2018.

Alanna added: "Most of the guys whose partners had children work in the factory so I see them more in passing.

"But now we've had the photoshoot we ask each other how our babies are doing whereas before that probably wouldn't have happened."

Mrs Smith is equally as humoured by the heartwarming situation, and proud too to see some staff mature into parents.

She said: "We're so pleased our work family has grown by 12 in one year.

"We had our challenges at work having so many people off during the year with maternity and paternity leave, but it was certainly worth it to see all these beautiful babies.

"Some of the dads joined us as 16-year-old apprentices so it’s wonderful to see them now with children of their own.

"We're so proud of them all.”