Twinderful: Inseparable Burnley twins celebrate 80th birthdays

A pair of vivacious Burnley twins celebrated their 80th birthdays earlier this month, gathering their loving families around and cracking open the brandy to toast eight decades across which they have rarely been apart.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 10:27 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 10:30 am
Twins Theresa Clegg andNorah Robinson with their 80th birthday cake.

Born just five minutes apart, the ever-so-slightly elder Theresa Clegg and Norah Robinson (née O’Sullivan) turned 80 on April 17th and, ​ringing in their special day in style with a joint party as they always have, welcomed countless family members and friends to the celebration.

Hailing from a large family of six sisters and two brothers, the twins lived on Comrie Crescent on the Bleak House Estate with their much-loved parents Katie and Timothy O’Sullivan, attending St Mary’s School and eventually starting their working lives at Brown's Printers in Burnley.

Swept off their feet by a pair of best friends - ambulance workers Keith Robinson and Douglas Clegg - the twins eventually left home and married. Norah and Keith had four children - Debbie, Cate, Jason, and Lisa - having adopted two of their daughters from the Catholic Rescue Society in Didsbury, while Theresa and Douglas had two sons, Damian and Andrew.

"Norah and Theresa seem to be known by everyone in Burnley [and] people often remark on how they have seen them walking down Manchester Road or tootling around town, which they do almost daily," said Cate Trafford, Norah's daughter. "They have rarely been apart since birth; even today they may see each other daily and at 10pm every night, without fail, speak on the phone before bed.

"They enjoy their local fame and get great amusement when people mistake them for each other," Cate added of the twins, who regularly attend Christ The King Christ the King Roman Catholic Church on Manchester Road. "Though they try very hard not to wear the same clothes, they occasionally and accidentally turn up in at least the same colours!"

Though their husbands have both sadly died, the twins both have numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, continuing to regale their extended families with stories of their parents and their time working as home-helps in Burnley after their children had started school.

"They are hilariously funny; we all just often sit back and it's like watching the best bits of Gogglebox!" said Cate. "My mum [Norah] is definitely the more out-going of the two, and at a good family party can hold her own with all of the adult grandchildren.

"They can often be holding an hour-long conversation with each other, talking about two different things at the same time," she added. "It's unfathomable to the observer."