Sisters believed to be Britain’s oldest living triplets celebrate 83rd birthday
These doting sisters – who turned 83 yesterday – are believed to be Britain’s oldest living triplets.
Margaret, Mary and Muriel Beal were delivered naturally in only 13 minutes in 1936 and have remained close ever since, including in the years they all worked at the same sweet factory.
Identical twins Margaret and Mary still live together – and jokingly describe Muriel as the “odd one out”.
Muriel said: “We’ve always got on very well, although as the oldest Margaret can be bossy and thinks she’s in charge.
“There is definitely a special bond – Mary always seemed to know when I was pregnant before I even did. We would be lost without each other.”
Multiple births were rare in 1936 so it was considered very fortunate all three survived. Margaret was 5lb 10oz, Mary was 4lb 10oz and Muriel was 5lb 8oz.
Their mum Eva, who had three other children, dressed the girls in identical outfits as they grew up.
Muriel said: “When I became a teenager I started dressing differently. I was a bit of a rebel.”
When the girls left school they found work together at Simpkins sweet factory in their home city of Sheffield.
They were split up for the first time when Muriel fell in love in the 1950s.
During a family holiday she literally bumped into husband-to-be Roger Chipperfield… on the dodgems at a funfair.
The couple settled in Salhouse, Norfolk, and went on to have four children and three grandchildren.
Full-time mum Muriel enjoyed many happy years with Roger until he died in 2015. Margaret, who was a forklift truck driver, and sweet maker Mary remained in the family home in Sheffield and carried on working at the factory.
The pair, known as M and M, never married and still go everywhere together. Margaret said: “I’ve loved life with my sisters and have really happy memories of our childhood. We don’t fall out much, and me and Mary talk on the phone with Muriel a lot.”
Sharing a first initial, surname and date of birth caused some problems over the years. Getting prescriptions was always tricky and on one occasion a bank put all their money into one sister’s account.
Mary said: “Being a triplet is brilliant, we have spent our lives together.”
She and Margaret are dedicated gardeners while Muriel is more sporty and is a fan of table tennis.
Muriel said: “I definitely feel like the odd one out sometimes. I was the only one who married and I chose to move away from home.”
Margaret and Mary travelled to Norfolk last week to spend time with Muriel.
And the triplets celebrated their birthday yesterday with dinner cooked by Muriel’s chef son.
Their nephew Alan Burley, 60, said: “We call Margaret and Mary ‘M and M’ because Muriel lives away.
“They are all kind-hearted, will help anybody and have good characters.”
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