Their mother's pride: Twins celebrate 101 years together

TWO sisters have laid claim to the title of world's oldest twins after celebrating their 101st birthday this week.

Edith Ritchie and Evelyn Middleton believe they have beaten the record held by another pair of British sisters who turned 100 this year.

Mrs Ritchie and Mrs Middleton, from Ellon in Aberdeenshire, now have a total of 82 descendants from children to great great grandchildren.

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The twins said yesterday that the key to long life was "hard work, simple living" and their genes. Their mother, Mary Rennie, also lived to 101 years old.

Mrs Middleton said: "I have seen some changes in my time. TVs and telephones are the most amazing. They didn't have those in my day.

"If you needed a doctor you couldn't just phone, you had to walk for miles and miles."

The twins celebrated their 101st birthday with a small family gathering.

But the unassuming pair are yet to get their names in the Guinness Book of Records because they did not realise they had set a new record.

However, they are older than the current reigning title holders, Britain's Lily Millward and Ena Pughall, who were born on January 4, 1910 - making them only 100.

Mrs Ritchie and Mrs Middleton were born near Foveran and have their roots in the north-east farming community.

Mrs Ritchie met future husband, farmer Nathaniel, at a dance at Ellon and they married in 1929. They went on to have four children, nine grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren.

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Her husband died in 1987. Her son, also Nathaniel, 75, said: "She was very independent up until then and is still pretty bright now. She believes the secret to a long life is simple living and hard work."

Mr Ritchie said his mother had never been on a plane or left Scotland.

The furthest her sister, Mrs Middleton, has travelled was to Wales to visit one of her four daughters.

As a young woman she wed farm servant William Middleton before going to live near Newburgh. Together they had four children, 12 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren. Mr Middleton died four years ago aged 99. Her daughter Eveline Smith, 80, said: "My mother's health is not too bad.

"She is hard of hearing and her eyesight is poor but she has hardly ever been in hospital. She says she has been lucky with her health. She remembers both world wars as if they were yesterday and says she doesn't want to see another one.

"We didn't realise they might be the oldest twins in the world. It certainly is a grand old age."

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