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'I love her and she loves me' - twins together again for 87th birthday

PUBLISHED: 13:20 08 February 2019

Twins Doris Gilbert and Dorenda Jefferson, who are celebrating their 87th birthday together. Picture: Mick Howes

Twins Doris Gilbert and Dorenda Jefferson, who are celebrating their 87th birthday together. Picture: Mick Howes

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Twins who were reunited in Lowestoft after losing their husbands have celebrated their 87th birthday together.

Twins Doris Gilbert and Dorenda Jefferson celebrated their 87th birthday together. Picture: Mick HowesTwins Doris Gilbert and Dorenda Jefferson celebrated their 87th birthday together. Picture: Mick Howes

Doris Gilbert and Dorenda Jefferson were joined by family members yesterday at The Dell care home’s Wellbeing Day Centre, where they were surrounded by decorations, presents and birthday messages from residents.

Born in 1932, the pair grew up in Dagenham alongside their siblings, Walter and Eileen. It was a “happy place” where they had “lots of friends”, says Mrs Jefferson, and they remained in Essex until the outbreak of the Second World War.

At just seven years of age the twins were separated from their parents and evacuated to Bedfordshire - a “horrible experience”, they agree - but their fortunes improved following a move to Bath, where they were reunited with their mother.

With conflict coming to an end in 1945, they married Eric Gilbert and Robert Jefferson - both of whom had served in the war.

Mr and Mrs Gilbert had twins themselves named Rosemary and Eric, born on the day of their first wedding anniversary, and their daughter Amber Eastell lives on Homefield Avenue in Lowestoft.

Mrs Gilbert spent much of her working life at Orlake Records’ pressing plant and at May and Baker’s Dagenham site. Her sister spent time doing factory work and was also employed by Woolworths, but in her spare time she lived for dancing and holidays.

“I used to love going dancing - not ballroom dancing, though. I loved going jiving in the clubs,” said Mrs Jefferson, who now lives at The Dell.

“Bob and I would go on holiday to Mallorca, every year in fact, and in this country we liked going to Devon.”

Mrs Gilbert, meanwhile, looks back with fondness on holidays in Kent, where the family would go hop-picking.

Following the sad death of their husbands, Mrs Gilbert moved in with Mrs Eastell last year and attends the Wellbeing Day Centre, while Mrs Jefferson moved from Barking last month.

“It’s been lovely seeing them together,” said Mrs Eastell. “It made sense to bring them closer at this point in their lives.

“Mum’s always asking to see Dorenda so they see each other pretty much every day.”

“I like seeing Dorenda every day because she is my sister, after all,” added Mrs Gilbert. “I love her and she loves me - at least I think she does!”

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