Twins, 75, just a gate apart

Twins...Denis and Vincent Ward celebrated their 75th birthdays and they still live in houses that back on to each other in Market Harborough.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-181109-170224005
Twins...Denis and Vincent Ward celebrated their 75th birthdays and they still live in houses that back on to each other in Market Harborough.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-181109-170224005

Seventy-five years ago, the Ward twins were born in Medbourne, near Market Harborough, just five minutes apart.

And 75 years later – and to both their credits – Dennis and Vincent are arguably even closer, just 30 seconds apart in their two Market Harborough homes, separated by a garden gate.

The duo are 75 tomorrow, and though they’ve both lived their own lives, they’re both still close.

Dennis and Vincent were the youngest two of seven children. “A bit of a shock to mum” said Dennis. “She was 43 when she had us!”

Almost identical as children, you can at least now tell one from the other.

But for much of their school life through Medbourne school and then Church Langton, confused teachers “just called us ‘the twins’.”

Their work lives were also parallel for many years. Dennis Ward, the older by 300 seconds, started work at Harboro’ Rubber at 15. So did younger twin Vincent – although not in the same department.

“We got just over £3 a week” said Vincent. “And half of it went to mum!”

Vincent was at the rubber company for 49 years, leaving when his first wife became ill.

Dennis worked there for 20 years, with 20 more at Tungstone Batteries and a spell with his own courier business.

Even after they both got married, they weren’t too far apart. Dennis married in 1964, to Maureen, and after two years in Weston by Welland, moved to Market Harborough in 1966.

So did Vincent, after marrying his first wife Ann.

Vincent re-located to his current town home in 1971, where he now lives with his second wife - also called Ann.

Dennis moved into a neighbouring street in 1982, and found his house backed on to twin Vincent’s large garden. A gate was duly installed.

“You are brought up together and so you are closer, and you stick up for each other” said Dennis.

“We’ve been quite similar for a lot of our lives” said Vincent. “But if he’s got a problem, he knows he can call on me.”

They even – and here’s a test of friendship – play golf as a duo. They won a Leicestershire and Rutland Senior Match Players Competition together three years ago.