Identical twins celebrate their 100th birthday
8:00am Monday 21st October 2013 in News
Identical twins Winifred Witt and Marjorie Gilbert are celebrating their 100th birthday, collect picture of the twins (1656897)
TODAY is a double celebration for Marjorie Gilbert and Winifred Witt as the identical twins celebrate their 100th birthday.
Mrs Gilbert and Mrs Witt, nee Crump, are marking the occasion with a small party at their nursing home in Cwmbran as the sisters remain as close today as the day they were born in Griffithstown.
There are thought to be just ten to fifteen twins in the world who have both reached 100-years-old, and fewer again who are identical.
Speaking at the Thomas Gabrielle Nursing Home in Victoria Street where ‘The Twins’ - as they are known - have lived since July 2012, some of their children said they were “inseparable”.
“It has always been that way,” said Mrs Witt's son, Nolan Witt. “From the day they were born, to the day they will die. There were times when we didn’t know which one was which, even as their children! I’m sure there were some boyfriends along the way who were the same.”
The pair were born to Sarah Elizabeth Taylor, better known as Bessie, and George Nolan Crump in 1913, they were pictured in the Free Press as ‘champion babies’ with their mum, after winning a beautiful baby competition, for which they received a velvet purse with sovereigns in it.
Throughout their childhood in New Inn and later Blaendare, Pontypool, they shared clothes, books and even a bed.
Mrs Gilbert's daughter, Ann Eccleshare, said: “I remember my auntie Win saying to me she cried herself to sleep the night Marjorie got married because that was the first night she had ever slept alone!! It’s lovely the way they have grown old so happily and sweet natured together.”
Both sisters married aged 21, but even that was not enough to keep them apart, and they moved both their families into one house in Avondale Road, Pontrhydyrun during the war, while Winifred’s husband was away on service. They had four children each, with nine grandchildren on Winifred’s side, and eight on Marjorie's side. They have 14 great grandchildren each, while Winifred has four great, great grandchildren and Marjorie has two.
Prior to their weddings, Winifred worked at West Monmouthshire Private Boarding School, while Marjorie was on a milk-round – with a horse-drawn cart.
But after their husbands had both died, in 1992, they began living together once more, in sheltered accommodation at Mount Pleasant Close, Pontnewydd. They would play bingo together every Saturday at the Mecca, Cwmbran, until they were 95.
Mr Witt said they were lucky to have one another.
“They have had two families their whole lives,” he said. “We think that when one dies, the other will follow too. You can’t have one without the other, they come as a pair.”
Mrs Eccleshare added: “It was like having two mums for us children. You would buy the same Christmas and birthday presents for them both. They were never different.”
They have become known as quite the double act, said nursing home owner and manager Gwyneth Virgo.
“They are real characters the two of them,” she said. “They come alive at night. They sleep all day and then 7.30pm comes and bang, they are bickering away. It’s comical.
“We are going to make a big fuss of them for their birthday. We’ve got cakes, flowers, balloons - the lot.”
The family will attend the home throughout today, with a special inscribed bench given to the Thomas Gabrielle home as a thank you for the “exceptional care” they had provided, Mr Witt said.