AFTER a tough start to life when they were born prematurely, triplets from Cwmbran have become minor celebrities in the town.

Sofia, Tilly and Poppy celebrate their first birthday today, with mum Charlotte Cousins describing how a simple walk through town can take five hours because crowds of people gather round the trio.

We reported last year how the triplets were born three weeks premature at Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital, with Sofia the smallest weighing just 2lb 9oz, Tilly weighing 3lb 4oz and Poppy 3lb 8oz.

The sisters then spent three weeks in a special care baby unit, with Ms Cousins and dad Gareth Vincent anxiously waiting for them to be given theOK to come home.

Now, one year on, all three are fit and healthy as they cause mischief around their home at Green Willows, Oakfield.

Poppy is now 19lb 11oz, Sofia is 17lb 12oz and Tilly is 18lb 2oz.

Ms Cousins said: “They are like three little personalities who brighten people’s days. We go out, it’s unbelievable, crowds just gather round them.

“On one trip, we were there for four hours and managed just two shops as so many people wanted to see them and another time, we just about walked from the car park to McDonald’s. They are magnets for people.”

Ms Cousins and Mr Vincent have now split up – but anyone who may think she has her hands full looking after three babies would be mistaken.

She added: “People say it should be hard, but no, everything just takes longer.

“Some children scream and are an absolute nightmare, but the girls very rarely cry, although there are a fewsleepless nights.”

Ms Cousins has taken a career break from her position with Bron Afon community housing and spends her days taking the girls shopping, to the park and swimming.

She describes 19lb 11oz Poppy as a “chunky monkey”, Sofia as “the small, silent observer” and tall, slim Tilly as “the leader, they follow around” as she is already walking.

The family will hold a birthday party for them on Sunday.