A drop of brandy, the magic for a centurion. . . twins, Elma and Thelma, celebrate 103rd birthdays together

05 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
A drop of brandy, the magic for a centurion. . . twins, Elma and Thelma, celebrate 103rd birthdays together

H-Metro

STOCKPORT For the 103rd time, two twins, Elma and Thelma, are celebrating their birthdays together.

The two Stockport sisters reached this phenomenal milestone in style on Wednesday with a surprise bash laid on by family.

Elma, who has had two children, five grandchildren and six great grandchildren, says the secret to her longevity is a drop of brandy.

“I like a drink,” she said.

“Keep smiling, don’t worry.”

Thelma, who has had two children, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren said: “I like my food.”

After celebrating so many birthdays, Thelma would be forgiven for being nonchalant, but it’s not many people who reach the grand old age of 103.

Witty and warm, Thelma and Elma are funny and on the ball, “I just do as I am told,” Thelma told Louisa Gregson in the Manchester Evening News, before winking conspiratorially and whispering: “Or so they think.”

Born in Cheadle Heath in Stockport on August 3, 1919, Thelma and Elma Edwards went to Alexandra Park Primary School and talked of humble beginnings.

Aged not much older than eight, the girls would go down to the railway lines with their older brother Robert to look for loose coal that may have fallen off trains, so they could light the fire.

“We didn’t have much, we were very poor,” they said.

But they recall fun times, playing out on the streets and being mischievous.

“We would be out on the streets being naughty,” Thelma remembers. “I was the naughty one,” confessed Elma, “We would knock on doors and run off.”

Aged just 14-years-old, the sisters, who had three other siblings, took jobs as packers and labellers of Smiths crisps, after enquiring after vacancies there on the way home from school.

They remained there until they married and gave up work – just three months apart from each other, both aged 21.

Elma married Bill Hewitt, a joiner and Thelma married Joseph Barratt, a hatter, just as the war started.

Elma recalls seeing the city burning red from the bombing.

“We once came back from a do with the girls and the whole of Manchester was red with the bombs,” she says.

Both women watched their husbands go off to war, and talk of desperately dark times:

“We didn’t see them for a couple of years,” they said.

“We used to go and sleep in the caves at Brinksway when the air raids took place.”

Thelma’s husband was captured in Italy and became a prisoner of war at the same camp as Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, famed for losing his legs while attempting some aerobatics,

“It was terrible,” Elma said.

In 1959 Thelma and Joe became the landlord and landlady of The New Inn on Wellington Road in Stockport, but left when their son Tony, now 63, was a few months old.

Tony remembers his dad bringing home lots of amazing hats and he and his friends loving to see them.”

My dad brought home cowboy hats and police hats,” he says. “Friends would come round and we would love to look at them all.”

Asked what was the downside of being a twin, the sisters say it was being forced to dress in the same clothes when they were growing up.

But, the best bit, they say, was always having one another for company.

“You didn’t need pals,” Elma says, “We always had each other.” www.cheshire-live.co.uk.

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