A FORTNIGHT ago The Bugle reported that brothers Robert and Jim Fletcher celebrated their 95th birthday on Saturday, August 2 and we asked if they were the oldest twins in the Black Country.
Reader John Davies, of Heronville Road, Hill Top, quickly replied that his family could beat that record as his mother-in-law Sarah Preece and her sister Nancy Reeve had celebrated their 95th birthday on January 15 this year with a family party.
Both sisters are still living independently and only a mile apart, Sarah at Heronville Drive, Hill Top, and Nancy at Arthur Street, West Bromwich.
The pair were born on 15/01/1919 at 17 Green Street, West Bromwich, to Sam and Harriet Green who had 11 children, including three sets of twins.
Of the 11 children, May, Kate, Sam and Gwen (twins), Olive, Jess and Gladys (twins), Sarah and Nancy (surviving twins), Joan and Teddy who is living in Canada aged 91 who was in the British paratroopers who landed at Arnhem, only three are alive today. Their mother Harriet died when she was 42 and Sarah and Nancy were only four years old.
Sam, a roll turner at The District Iron and Steel in Rolfe Street, Smethwick, became a full-time dad and brought up all the children himself.
John Davies' wife, Sally, said the twins were born an hour apart, Nancy at 8pm and Sarah at 9pm, but they were very different. Sarah enjoyed sewing and knitting but didn't like school whereas Nancy was a good scholar who had no interest in her sister's hobbies.
They went to Spon Lane and when they left school Nancy was a machinist at Nettlefolds, a Salter scales machinist and a Vowles foundry worker while she and Sarah made landmines during the war. Afterwards Sarah was a worker at various factories.
A keen West Bromwich Albion fan, Nancy was a regular at home games as well as going to some away games when she was younger.
Nancy, who married William Reeve, a moulder, in 1939 at Smethwick Old Church, has one daughter Beryl four grand- children, eight great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. William died in 1994, aged 78. Sarah, who married Bert, a miner, at Trinity Church, West Bromwich, in 1945, has four children, six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren. Bert died in 1995, aged 85.
Sally said they had no plans yet for the twins' 96th birthday but she said Nancy and Sarah's one big ambition left was to live to 100 and receive a telegram from the Queen.
We were confident that Robert and Jim Fletcher were the oldest twins in the Black Country until Sarah Preece and Nancy Reeve proved us wrong. But can any family beat their record? If any reader can please write to us at The Black Country Bugle, Bugle House, 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.blackcountrybugle.co.uk