These hale and hearty twins could be Devon’s old­est at 95

Herald Express - - News - BY GUY HEN­DER­SON

BORN in Paignton less than five years af­ter the end of the First World War, Joan and Rene may be Devon’s old­est liv­ing twin sis­ters.

Now the iden­ti­cal twins have got to­gether to cel­e­brate their 95th birth­days with a party.

They were born in Oc­to­ber 1923 in Hart­ley Road to Ho­race and Nell Wid­di­combe.

Ho­race, Nell and the twins moved to Dendy Road and op­er­ated their pop­u­lar fam­ily busi­ness The Sweet Box at the top of Vic­to­ria Street for many years.

The shop is cur­rently The Sand­wich Bar.

Rene and Joan were born pre­ma­turely at home, Joan first at 3lb and 30 min­utes later Rene at 2lb 8oz.

In those pre-NHS days they were cared for by a dis­trict nurse named Nurse Wack­ett at home where they were fed milk through eye drop­pers ev­ery hour day and night.

They were kept warm and slept in a drawer lined with cot­ton wool, re­cov­ered well and went on to thrive.

Rene and Joan went to Curl edge Street School and later the Marist Con­vent, leav­ing at the age of 14.

Joan then went to work at Ros­siters in Palace Av­enue and Rene at The Sweet Box which was owned at this time by a Miss Howarth, un­til the busi­ness was pur­chased from her by Rene and Joan’s par­ents.

Rene was a mem­ber of the Bap­tist Church in Win­ner Street and there she met and fell in love with an­other reg­u­lar mem­ber of the con­gre­ga­tion, Bert Hutch­ings.

In 1943 they were mar­ried. Bert joined the Royal Navy and they moved to Portsmouth where he was based and where they were heav­ily bombed.

He was com­mended for sav­ing the life of a sea­man and was pro­moted to Chief Petty Of­fi­cer.

Af­ter the war Rene and Bert ran a wet fish shop in Win­ner Street for 10 years.

Bert was a car­pen­ter and a vol­un­teer driver with the St John Am­bu­lance Ser­vice and later was fully em­ployed in that ca­pac­ity.

He was also an ac­tive mem­ber of the Court­land Ma­sonic Lodge.

Bert died in 1991 and Rene still lives in her own home in Paignton.

In 1944 Joan mar­ried Welsh­man Arthur Lloyd, who was at­tend­ing RAF Of­fi­cer Train­ing in Paignton when they met at a dance at Old way Man­sion.

He be­came en­gi­neer of­fi­cer to the Queen’s Flight be­fore re­tir­ing as wing com­man­der en­gi­neer. He and Joan spent many years abroad with the RAF and had a son called Stephen.

Arthur died in 2013 and Joan lives in her own home in Lyming­ton, Hamp­shire.

She has a son, two grand­chil­dren and three great-grand­chil­dren.

Ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia, the world’s old­est twins are Mar­ian and Nora Lang­ton from Not­ting­hamshire, who will be 106 on No­vem­ber 14.

Joan Lloyd (left) and Rene Hutch­ings cel­e­brate their 95th birth­days

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.