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‘Longest Living’ Identical Twins Celebrate 100 Years Of Sisterhood

One of the UK’s longest living pairs of twins, and possibly the oldest identical pair, have celebrated their 100th birthdays in style at a Dorset care home.

Devoted sisters Nora ‘Joan’ Barter and Margaret Joyce ‘Peggy’ Barter are thought to be among only four sets of twin centenarians in the whole country and are almost certainly the oldest identical twins in the south of England.

In matching tiaras, blue dresses and glittering gold sashes proclaiming ‘100 & Fabulous’, they were naturally the joint centre of attention at their birthday party in Colten Care’s Poole home The Aldbury.

Guests included Robin Ponting, grandson of the twins’ cousin Doris Ponting whose life was further proof of the family’s longevity. Born in 1898, Doris passed away aged 106 in 2004 having lived in three centuries.

Joan and Peggy were born in 1923 on the outskirts of Bath where their father Clem ran a hardware and clothing shop and their mother Doss was a housewife.

Neither twin married nor had any children.

With their respective retirements coinciding with each other, Peggy returned south to join Joan in her house in Sherborne.

They first moved to Colten Care’s Sherborne care home Abbey View for respite care, eventually making the transition to full time care there and later at Newstone House, the provider’s home in Sturminster Newton.

Melissa Siat of The Aldbury Companionship team said:
“When we asked the twins how they would like to celebrate their birthdays, Peggy said ‘It would be nice to have some of our relatives around and have a piano concert’.

“Joan didn’t say anything but Peggy knew that her twin sister loves listening to piano music as she used to play and teach the piano.”

As a birthday surprise, Melissa and colleagues arranged for piano tuner Jonathan Pope to make sure The Aldbury’s lounge piano was in tiptop shape and invited professional musician Caroline Pugh to come and play at the party.

Amid disco lights, banners, balloons and old photos, Caroline performed hits from the 1950s and 60s including a selection of the twins’ favourites.

Melissa added: “Peggy was smiling and singing along to ‘You Are My Sunshine’. A full house of staff and residents attended the party, singing and dancing, shaking the shakers and pom poms, swaying ribbons and having a lot of fun.

“Our Chef Izzy Turczyn-Kuzma baked a beautifully decorated cake, the twins received their 100th birthday greeting cards from the King and they got dressed up and had their hair done by one of our Healthcare Assistants, Maureen Gostling, who came in specially on her day off to help. The twins really did look fabulous.