Mirror twins turn 90 and re­flect on a won­der­ful life

Western Mail - - NEWS - Wales News Ser­vice news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

Two spit­ting-im­age sis­ters have had iden­ti­cal lives for 90 years – shar­ing the same jobs, same hol­i­days and even their wed­ding day, com­plete with the same bri­dal dresses.

Born 15 min­utes apart, iden­ti­cal twins Mau­reen New­ton and Gwen Jones even pre­tended to be each other to con­fuse peo­ple, in­clud­ing their own hus­bands.

The in­sep­a­ra­ble duo shared their big day and tied the knot at the same time – say­ing their vows in uni­son.

Mau­reen and Gwen were walked down the aisle by their proud dad, Alb Sadler, a book­maker, who held one twin on each arm.

The sis­ters wed in Septem­ber 1950, hold­ing the same bou­quets and wear­ing iden­ti­cal £3 10 shilling wed­ding dresses for the big day in front of 100 guests. They now live just seven miles apart in New­port, south Wales, af­ter lives spent work­ing in the same fac­to­ries and go­ing on the same hol­i­days.

Gwen said: “Our mum, Rosie, had no idea she was ex­pect­ing twins and then I popped out! We have al­ways loved be­ing iden­ti­cal twins. It was im­pos­si­ble to tell us apart – on our first day at school we had our ini­tials, ‘M’ and ‘G’, pinned on to our clothes so the teachers would know which one of us they were speak­ing to.

“Even Dad would get me con­fused with Mau­reen all the time. We thought it was very funny.”

At school the girls were in the same class and were in­sep­a­ra­ble – and their favourite games were skip­ping, hop­scotch and mar­bles.

Gwen said: “When we left school we started work and got jobs in the same fac­tory. And when it came to boyfriends we loved noth­ing more than pre­tend­ing to be each other. Mind you, it didn’t al­ways go down too well with the boys!

“We both loved read­ing mag­a­zines with glam­orous stars like Rita Hay­worth and Ava Gard­ner.

“We knew a dress­maker, and we’d show her pho­to­graphs of what the stars would be wear­ing and she’d whip up ex­act copies for both of us. We’d go out dressed up in our match­ing out­fits feel­ing like film stars.”

The pair then both fell in love – though not ex­actly at the same time. Mau­reen met Johnny when she was 19, and Gwen met her hus­band, Mel, when she was 22.

But when the twins ac­cepted of­fers of mar­riage there was only one way to go – a joint wed­ding.

Mau­reen said: “Gwen went shop­ping with our mother and came back and said to me, ‘that’s your wed­ding dress.’ When we got mar­ried our dad walked us down the aisle hold­ing one of us on each arm. There was quite a crowd out­side the church to wel­come us be­cause it was un­usual for a dou­ble wed­ding to hap­pen.

“We said our vows to­gether and our hus­bands-to-be wore the same suits as each other.”

Mau­reen said that af­ter they got mar­ried to­gether and went on hon­ey­moon to Black­pool they even bought match­ing night­ies that had blue bows on them.

Mau­reen mar­ried John New­ton, who died aged 65, af­ter meet­ing him at a dance, and went on to have two sons – John and Paul.

Gwen mar­ried Melvin Jones, now also 90, who she met while work­ing at a fac­tory, and went on to have daugh­ter Linda Stevens.

Melvin, a ma­chine op­er­a­tor, would wait with a bag of tof­fees at work to give to Gwen in the morn­ings – but would get con­fused and give them to Mau­reen.

Gwen says: “We all loved go­ing danc­ing to­gether – jiv­ing and jit­ter­bug were two of our favourites.”

The nona­ge­nar­i­ans have seven grand­chil­dren and eight great­grand­chil­dren.

Gwen said: “Just re­cently we cel­e­brated our 90th birth­day to­gether. In 90 years we can hon­estly say we have never fallen out once.

“I can’t imag­ine our lives with­out each other. We re­ally are two halves of the same whole.”

> Twins Gwen Jones, left, and Mau­reen New­ton. In­set, Gwen and Mel, left, and Mau­reen and Johnny on their wed­ding day and, right, cel­e­brat­ing their 90th birth­days

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