Stockport twins share secret to long life on 103rd birthday

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Sisters Elma and Thelma were reunited for a party

A pair of sisters thought to be Britain's oldest twins have celebrated their 103rd birthday and declared a bedtime tipple as the secret to their long lives.

Thelma Barratt joked that her longevity was down to her love of food while Elma Harris enjoys a brandy and lemonade.

But it must always be served in a brandy glass without ice, she insisted.

The centenarians, who now live in different counties, were reunited for a celebration with their families.

"It's so wonderful. I didn't expect all this. It feels great. I'm happy," said Elma, who still lives in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

"It's lovely to be together because we don't get together very often," added Thelma, who now lives in Kirkham, Lancashire.

Thelma's son Tony Barratt told BBC North West Tonight it was even nicer to bring the pair together this year as the coronavirus pandemic had kept them apart for recent birthdays.

Image source, Family handout
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The pair now live in different counties but stay in touch over the phone

The pair were born in Stockport on 3 August 1919, with Elma arriving about 30 minutes before her sister.

At the age of 14 the sisters, who attended Alexandra Park School, both started working as packers and labellers at Smiths Crisps before getting married and starting families - both having two children and later many grandchildren.

Elma said: "We didn't really need a friend because we had each other. We did have loads of friends, but you know what I mean?"

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The sisters were joined by their loved ones including their sons

The Mayor of Stockport David Wilson, who attended the celebrations, described the milestone as "incredible".

"All their reminiscences from their childhood and when they worked at Smiths Crisps have been a revelation and an education," he said.

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