Emma Cairns
Played by Rebecca Loudonsack

Younger sister of Will, mother of Geri
(Emma was aged 13 in February 1997 when the character joined the show)
See Also IMDB entry for Rebecca Loudonsack
(Appeared: 122 episodes 27 February 1997 - Summer 1998)

The Cairn family welcome baby Geri


The following taken from :-25 Yeas of Emmerdale (1997) repubublsihed as "The Emmerdale Companion" (1998) by Anthony Hayward

Chapter "1997"

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 to hnospital with 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 out to be Greg Cox, the ex-boyfriend of Emma's sister Charlie. The revelation led Charlie to leave Emmerdale.

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EMMA CAIRNS

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 put 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 Dwarfs, alongside singer Linda Nolan and former Neighbours star lan Williams. At the age of 12, she danced and sang in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring Phillip Schofield, at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool.

'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.

Suddenly, scripts and 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 acting 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 of responsibility 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 of 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 13-year-old mother.'

[After this written, Emma Cairns did give up her baby. Her parents moved to Germany in April 1998 and Emma had followed them by Autumn 1998.]


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