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09th Feb 2024

‘Britain’s oldest twins’ aged 104 say secret to long life is a daily brandy

Nina McLaughlin

A pair of twins believed to be the oldest in Britain have revealed their secret to a long life

Thelma Barratt and Elma Harris marked their 104th birthdays back in August last year at Pear Tree House Care Home, in Wesham, Lancashire.

The pair, who were born in Cheadle Heath in Stockport, explained that they “can’t believe” they are celebrating the milestone.

“I keep saying ‘I’m sure you’re kidding me’,” Thelma said.

“We don’t act our age. We hope to keep young,” Elma added.

Thelma and Elma were born in 1919, and both attended Alexandra Park Primary School.

Aged 14, they took on jobs as packers at Smiths crisp factory.

“We earned eight bob a week, then,” Thelma said. “It wasn’t much but it kept us going.”

Both of them gave up work when they went on to marry aged 21, but the war meant they spent 4 years apart from their respective husbands.

“Planes were flying over head,” Elma explained. “You could see at the bottom of our street, you could see the bombs dropping over Manchester.”

“We use to stand at the bottom of the bed and watch, but our mum was as hard as nails,” Thelma added. “She would go to bed and forget about it [the bombs].”

Thelma and Elma went on to have 2 children each, and have over 20 grandchildren and great-grandchildren between them.

The reason for their long lives, though?

Well, Elma says it’s a “drop of brandy” every evening.

Thelma puts it down to “good food,” as well as a bit of whiskey, of course.