STAFF at a Blackburn opticians are over-the-moon at a recent spec-tacular baby boom.

Stuart Ingleby, store director of Specsavers Opticians, couldn't believe his eyes when seven out of 37 members of his female staff - a staggering one in five - fell pregnant.

Between May 2002 and November 2003 the seven women, who all work at the King William Street store, were given the happy news - which they believe is a result of sitting on a particular chair in the staff room!

And to add to the baby boom Melanie Scowcroft, a trainer for the company, also found herself in the family way after a stint at the store last summer.

Melanie, of Cliviger near Burnley, who gave birth to her first son Evan on April 11, said: "I didn't even sit on the chair, I just brushed past it!"

First of the full-time staff members to announce her good news was Beverley Cammack, 26, of High Moor Park, Clitheroe, whose first born Zack came along last February. She was followed by Samantha Farmer, 32, of Brighton Terrace, Darwen, who had Samuel, her second child last September.

Samantha said: "We've all joked that it's Beverley's fault. She was sat on that chair when she told me she was pregnant and I was trying for another baby at the time. It snowballed from there."

The other five employees with reasons to celebrate are: Joanne Dixon, 31, of Abbey Terrace, Billington, whose second son William was born last October; Toni Wheeler, 29, of Commercial Street, Oswaldtwistle, whose second child Caitlin arrived in December; first time mum Mumtaz Ismail, 28, of St James Road, Blackburn, who had son Raees in January; Helen Scott, 25, of Eccleshill Gardens, Darwen, who had twins Jacob and Ethan in February; and Shaheda Begum, 26, of Gordon Street, Burnley, who is due to give birth on August 8.

Stuart, said: "It's all gone crazy in the last few months, but it's not the first time this has happened. In our store around four years ago we had six babies all born within months of each other.

"It got to the point were even the male team members were scared to go near that chair, so we have got rid of it now.

"There were also a lot of jokes blaming me, but I'm happily married with three daughters of my own!

"I think it's simply that when there are a lot of young ladies who work together they do start having children at the same time. Whatever the reason it's great."