Twins inspire at 90 - and await their royal telegrams
Even after 90 years, a Palmerston North woman and her identical twin remain as close as ever.
Betty Arnott and her sister Mary Peacock, of Omokoroa, celebrated their 90th birthdays in Palmerston North this month.
The sisters were born on November 13, 1923, in Harrogate, northern Yorkshire, England.
"We didn't weigh 5 pounds together," Mrs Arnott said. "You could say we were small."
The sisters say they have an unspoken link.
"We often think about what the other is doing or we sense if the other twin isn't very well," Mrs Arnott said.
Mrs Peacock returns to her home tomorrow.
"We're still close and my sister comes up to stay with me at Omokoroa near Tauranga whenever she can," Mrs Peacock said. Mrs Arnott said they talked to each other on the phone every evening.
"And when the phone is engaged, it's often that Mary is ringing me at the same time as I am ringing her," Mrs Arnott said.
As young girls, their mother dressed them identically, having had a "passion for blue velvet".
But upon reaching the age of 15 , the sisters rebelled, and would no longer wear identical clothes.
Both were land girls in the Women's Land Army in England for four years during World War II.
During this time, they drove tractors, ploughed, drilled and made hay.
As bridesmaid at her sister's wedding, Mrs Arnott caught the eye of her brother-in-law's best man, and later married him.
Both women moved with their husbands, now deceased, to New Zealand in the 1960s - Mrs Arnott in 1961 and Mrs Peacock in 1967.
Mrs Arnott has two daughters and three grandchildren, while Mrs Peacock has two sons and four grandchildren.
All the family came together for a birthday dinner in Palmerston North earlier this month, followed by a high tea at Hotel Coachman.
Mrs Peacock's daughter-in-law Amanda Peacock said the sisters were an inspiration to the family.
"We are very impressed with how well they've gone and how close they are, and just how strong family is to them."
The sisters are adamant that they will be around at least another 10 years so they can get their telegrams from the Queen.