Triplets celebrate their 80th birthday near Chichester

IT WAS a treble family celebration at the weekend, as triplets enjoyed their 80th birthday.

Late at night on September 22, 1933, and in the early hours of the following day, Mary Davis, John Davies and Joy Hillary were born in Chichester Road, in North End, Portsmouth.

At the weekend, family members gathered at Chichester yacht club to celebrate.

“It was absolutely wonderful,” said Joy of the family get-together.

She moved to West Wittering with her husband Stuart in 1975 and set up a nursing home, which they ran until 2002. Prior to this, she was matron at a hospital in Cranleigh, in Surrey, and delivered more than 1,000 babies while working in Portsmouth.

“I’ve gone from babies to the old ones,” she said.

The triplets arrived as a surprise to their mother, Gwendoline Davies, who thought she was simply carrying one very large baby.

All three went to primary school together and were evacuated to Bognor Regis during the war.

Growing up, Joy said they did not like the attention they used to get for being triplets.

She said if they got a bus together they would sit apart so people did not stare.

“We didn’t like it because of the attention,” she said, adding they had to get used to it as they got older.

“We were in the same classes so of course we copied each others’ homework,” she said.

John, a retired helicopter engineer, lives near Sterling and Mary lives in Birdham.

“We’re very happy, we advertise the fact we’re twins now,” Mary said of herself and Joy.

“We’re lucky to still be very close.

“It’s so special to be surrounded by your family like this.”

They also have a younger sister, named Margaret, who lives in Chichester, and a brother named Raymond who came from America for the celebrations.

Margaret said: “It was wonderful living with them.

“They looked after me then and they still look after me now.”

Joy and Stuart have a son, Harvey, who is a member of the Royal Yachting Association.

Mary is the oldest of the siblings, born late on September 22, followed by John and Joy born in the early hours of September 23.

When they were born, they weighed just three lbs each and were not expected to live.

However, they thrived and the then Lord Mayor of Portsmouth commissioned a special pram for the three
of them.