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100th birthday celebrated by North Devon twins

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: May 07, 2014

Freda and Doll Latham who have just turned 100: Freda and Doll Latham celebrated their 100th birthdays on Monday.

Freda and Doll Latham celebrated their 100th birthdays on Monday.

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TWO born and bred North Devon twins have celebrated their 100th birthdays.

Doris (or Doll) and Freda Latham celebrated surrounded by friends and family at the Barnstaple Hotel on Bank Holiday Monday.

The pair were born in Alswear, near South Molton, and moved to Arlington where they lived until they were each married — to a pair of brothers.

Freda’s son, Ron Latham, said his mum often puts her grand age down to eating lots of green vegetables throughout her life.

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“Grandad had a great big garden and back in those days they grew all their own veg,” said Ron.

Freda and Doll are two of six sisters. Two have now died, but another two – Gladys and Phyllis – were among guests at a special centenary birthday party held on Monday, May 5.

Freda and Doll, who both still live in their own homes in Newport and Barbican Lane respectively, were delivered to the party by Rolls Royce.

They were welcomed by more than 50 friends alongside family members from five generations.

“They were all there and we planned all those surprises for them,” said Ron. “It went really well. It was an excellent day but they were shattered by 5pm.”

The twins marred two brothers, Wilton and Gordon Latham, who came from a farming family near Combe Martin.

Ron said: “My father died quite young, so my mother had to bring up three boys on her own. Dol had one son and one daughter – and her husband, my uncle, passed away only a few years ago.”

Freda now has four grandchildren, five great, and two great-great grandchildren.

In a Western Morning News report on the sisters published three years ago Freda explained the family’s longevity by saying: “It must be in the genes. We were brought up in the country and we didn’t have much money.

“But mum always use to give us plenty of vegetables which our father planted and grew in the garden,” said Freda.

Her sister agreed: “To have got where we are, there must be something. I think plain and wholesome organic food must have been the start.”

It is thought that the chances of identical twins living to 100 are one in 700 million.

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  • tbalment  |  May 07 2014, 6:22PM

    A real Heart warming story.Congratulations ladies.

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