THE nephew of a woman, thought to be the oldest surviving twin of a maternity unit in Radcliffe, has spoken about her story.

Kathleen Wood, along with sister Lillian, were born at Bealey Memorial Convalescent Hospital, now called Bealey Community Hospital, in 1928, the first twins to be born there.

Lillian, whose full name became Lillian Greenhalgh nee Wood, passed away in 2004 but Kathleen, who is commonly known as Kath, turned 89 on September 26 this year.

Luis McBriar, aged 22, great nephew of Kath, and grandson of Lillian, says that his great aunt is now the oldest surviving twin to be born at the hospital. Luis, who lives in Tottington, said: “My great aunt Kath has just turned 89 which doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary these days.

“However, along with my late gran, Lillian Greenhalgh nee Wood, who sadly died in 2004, they were the first twins to be born at the hospital in 1928. Therefore, my great aunt is the oldest surviving twin to be born at the hospital.”

Luis says that although Kath now has dementia, she still often reminisces about her time at Bealeys.

He said: “Although now she has dementia she is still going strong. She has the occasional health hiccup but that can be expected for a lady of her age.

“She has some great stories about Bealeys like the time when her father fainted in the phone box when he heard the news that they would be having twins.”

“Weighing in at 2lb 6oz and 2lb 8oz respectively they were both fed through pen nibs as they did not have the equipment and technology that they have today.”

Now living at Strangford Street, Kath has lived in Radcliffe all of her life after first living at Rupert Street and then James Street. Luis said: “She was educated at St Johns Primary which was situated over the garden from their house at both James Street and Rupert Street.

“She would often tell the family how they used the school air raid shelter during the Second World War. Then she and my gran went onto Radcliffe Secondary Modern before leaving at 14 years old.” On leaving school, the sisters both went to work at the Co-operative with Lillian working in banking and Kath in agriculture.

Kath would stay there until retiring.

Luis added: “The family were all delighted to be celebrating her recent birthday and it’s great to know our people in our family help to make up part of the fabric and history of Radcliffe.”

Kath herself said: “The community spirit shown from Radcliffe in 1928 was heart-warming as support for new babies from the state was not the same as it is today.

“Everyone; friends, family and midwives, pulled together in order to ensure Lillian and I had clothes and the essentials we needed at a young age as my parents had only expected one child.”

Not having any children of her own, Kath is close to her great nieces Jordan, Elizabeth and Caroline along with nephews and niece in laws, Mark, Shirley, Sylvia and Michael, along with Luis, and her first great great nephew, Harry, has just been born.