WHEN Florence Boycott and Anne Brown were born in the town centre in 1923 televisions, computers and the internet were just a pipe dream – but 100 years later and the identical twins have defied the odds by 700 million to one.
The pair were born on Stocks Lane and were part of a family of ten – five brothers and five sisters.
They’ve lived through three monarchs, World War Two and a total of 20 different Prime Ministers – and even England’s World Cup win in 1966.
Florence’s daughter, 78-year-old Kath Lindsay from Pogmoor,said: “They both worked in a local shirt factory during the war, straight after they left school.
“My mum had three girls and my auntie had one daughter, also called Anne.
“My mum was really hard-working – she practically brought me and my sisters up on her own.
“They both used to have caravans and go on holiday together.”
They looked so alike as youngsters, that they were even able to swap boys if they decided they weren’t for them.
Kath recalled a number of her mother’s memories – including when she used to ignore her father and go join the ‘Barnsley Bunny Run’, an old-fashioned version of a pub crawl.
“People always used to get them mixed up when they were younger,” she said.
“You couldn’t tell them apart.
“If a boy fancied my mum and she didn’t like him back then she’d pass him on to her sister.
“They’ve both got a great sense of humour.”
Florence is currently residing at The Firs, a residential home on Dodworth Road, while her sister is being cared for by a relative in Wilthorpe.
They celebrated their 100th birthday yesterday by hosting a party at the care home.
Kath added: “It’s brilliant that they’ve managed to get to 100.
“It’s a real achievement.”
And some achievement it is – less than one per cent of the British public live to be a centenarian.
But when it comes to identical twins, the chance is even more slim.
According to the Guinness World Records, the chance of identical twins both reaching and surpassing the age of 100 is about one in 700 million.
For context, that means a person is 15 times more likely to win the jackpot in the National Lottery.
But what’s the secret to a life as long as theirs?
Kath said: “My mum and step-dad used to have a whisky and orange juice every night – but neither of the sisters were big drinkers so I don’t think it could be that.
“I think you can put it down to hard work.”
Sharon Gayford, the activities co-ordinator at the care home, said Florence does sometimes struggle to answer but added: “If I were to speak for her I’m sure she’d say it’s eating lots of biscuits.
“As mad as it sounds she literally lives on biscuits and sweets.
“She’s really excited about turning 100.”
And it turns out both of the twins have a sweet tooth.
Anne Ridsdale, 68 – Anne’s daughter – said: “She would say that the secret is cream buns, chocolates and sweets.
“My mum is chatty and fiery.
“I love them both to bits.”