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    In a heartwarming celebration of life, Thelma Barratt and Elma Harris believed to be Britain’s oldest twins, raised their glasses to an astonishing 104 years at Pear Tree House Care Home in Wesham, Lancashire. As the echoes of their laughter filled the air, they shared their secret to a life well-lived: a cherished “drop of brandy” before bed and a love for nourishing food.

    Thelma & Elma enjoy a glass of Brandy on their 104th Birthday.

    Early Beginnings at Alexandra Park School

    Their journey began in Cheadle Heath, Stockport, on August 3, 1919, when Thelma and Elma embarked on their remarkable life adventure. The sisters fondly recall their school days at Alexandra Park Primary School, where their youthful spirits and zest for life were already evident.

    From Crisps to Adulthood: A Journey of Resilience

    Their journey into adulthood saw them taking on roles as packers and labellers of Smiths crisps at the tender age of 14. The sisters’ determination led them to enquire about job vacancies on their way home from school, kickstarting their career journey with a weekly wage of eight shillings. Thelma reminiscences, “It wasn’t much, but it kept us going.”

    Love and Resilience Through War time Challenges

    With love and marriage gracing their path at the age of 21, Thelma and Elma embarked on the next chapters of their lives. Elma’s heart found its match in Bill Hewitt, a skilled joiner, while Thelma found companionship in Joseph Barratt, a hatter. Yet, the challenges of war time tested their love, as they were separated for nearly four years due to the turmoil of the era.

    Strength Amidst Chaos: Recollections of War

    As the sky lit up with planes and shadows of conflict, Elma recollects, “Planes were flying overhead, and you could see the bombs dropping over Manchester.” Thelma fondly remembers her mother’s resilience during those trying times, a beacon of strength amidst the chaos. “Our mum was as hard as nails. She would go to bed and forget about it [the bombs].”

    Contributions and Legacy

    Amidst the tumultuous backdrop of World War II, Elma contributed her efforts to the Fairey Aviation factory, working diligently to create ammunition for soldiers at the Heaton Chapel location. Today, Thelma and Elma’s legacy continues through their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, with more than 20 members gracing their vibrant family tree.

    Aging Gracefully: The Secret Ingredients

    Thelma attributes her longevity to a diet of nourishing food, while Elma playfully winks and acknowledges her nightly ritual: “a drop of brandy” and a splash of lemonade before bidding the day adieu.

    A Remarkable Journey in Reflection

    As the world celebrates the incredible lives of Thelma and Elma, their journey serves as an inspiration, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and a reminder that a sprinkle of brandy and a dash of joy can truly stand the test of time. Raise a glass to these remarkable twins, who have woven an extraordinary tapestry of life, love, and laughter over the span of a remarkable 104 years.

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