following taken from :-25 Yeas of Emmerdale (1997) repubublsihed
as "The Emmerdale Companion" (1998) by
EMMERDALE'S 13-YEAR-OLD MOTHER,
Linda Fowler was shocked
to find a small baby girl left in a box outside Zoe
Tate's veterinary surgery. Two days later, after being admitted
bad haemorrhaging, 13-year-old Emma Cairns admitted to being
the mother. Emma called the baby Geri, grew close to her,
and reversed her decision to have her adopted. The father turned
to be Greg Cox, the ex-boyfriend of Emma's sister Charlie.
The revelation led Charlie to leave Emmerdale.
Young actress Rebecca Loudonsack was thrown in at the deep end
when she was cast as 13-year-old Emma Cairns in Emmerdale. Arriving
in the village with her parents, elder sister and brother,
Emma harboured a secret that not even they knew she was pregnant.
It was a shock when they discovered that the new-born baby
left outside Zoe Tate's veterinary surgery belonged to Emma.
When she admitted to being the mother, the gymslip mum insisted
on taking baby Geri home, despite her father's insistence that
she should be given away for adoption.
'Only my immediate family knew about the storyline in advance,'
says Rebecca, who is three years older than her Emmerdale character.
'When others discovered the baby was Emma's, they were in shock
- pleased shock. At school, some people said, "Wow! What
a great story." I actually wore padding from the time I
joined the programme. Emma had the baby a month premature - I
don't think she could have gone any further without anyone noticing.
'But my mum is a midwife and told me this sort of thing does
happen. She has delivered babies to 12 and 13-year-old girls
- it's a very real issue and an important one that should be
on television, even if people want to ignore it. People can't
ignore it in a soap opera because it's there, in their face.'
Working with Georgina Annett, as baby Geri, presented Rebecca
with no problems. 'I've always loved children,' she says. 'At
first, Georgina was a bit wary of me, but she settled down
with me and got to know what I smell like and began to feel comfortable
with me. Once her mother passes her to me, she stays with me
- she doesn't like being passed around.'
Remarkably, Emma Cairns is Rebecca's first professional acting
role. Born in Lancaster, she attended ballet classes from the
age of three and started taking part in festivals around the
country four years later. She also modelled clothes in fashion
shows, and Rebecca's dancing led her to act in the pantomimes
Dick Whittington and Snow White and the Seven
alongside singer Linda Nolan and former Neighbours star lan
At the age of 12, she danced and sang in Joseph and the
Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring Phillip Schofield, at the Grand
'Although I love dancing and singing,' says Rebecca, 'my ambition
has always been to act. I did auditions for Coronation
Street and Children's Ward before getting into Emmerdale. I came back
from my ballet class one day to hear that I'd got the role,
and my reaction was one of stunned silence.
memos began to come through the post, and I had phone calls
from the costume department asking me what size I was.'
Rebecca, who travels to Emmerdale's Leeds studio from her Preston
home, took her GCSEs shortly after acting out the story of
Emma giving birth. She then planned to continue with her education
by taking A-levels to ensure she has options open to her if
does not work out.
'Emma very much wanted to be a vet and I'd like to see her
have a career,' says Rebecca. 'Her mum and dad took on a lot
for the baby, so they have become Geri's second parents, which
is helpful to Emma. Just before the baby's birth, there was
a debate in Parliament about Britain having such a high rate
teenage pregnancies. The problems I can foresee for Emma are,
for instance, that she will be 23 when Geri is 10. That's such
a small age difference. She's always going to be labelled a
[After this written, Emma Cairns did give up her baby. Her parents
moved to Germany in April 1998 and Emma had followed them by