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50 Years on and these city triplets are still such devoted sisters; Inseparable trio have never had a falling out.

Byline: LIZ WALKER

THEY don't come much closer than these three devoted sisters.

Just minutes separated the arrival of the Ross triplets Gillian Brenda and Kathleen when they were born on April 18, 1962.

And they have been inseparable ever since - still living less than a mile apart in Newcastle's West End.

The new arrivals became local celebrities when their births were announced half a century ago and their landmark birthdays have been captured in the Evening Chronicle.

Now almost 200 family and friends have gathered to raise their glasses to say a very special three cheers to the bubbly trio as they celebrate their 50th birthday.

"We've always been known as the triplets," explained Brenda, of Keswick Grove.

"From when we were babies, we were never known by our names, it was always just the triplets."

Gillian, of Westacres Crescent, continued: "It was massively unusual back then. There was no fertility treatment so having triplets was something unique. We were even sponsored by Cow and Gate." Kathleen, of Coldstream Road, added: "People still call us 'the triplets' now. You still don't meet that many."

Gillian, who lives with husband Robert and son Nathan, 17, said: "The best thing about being one of triplets is always having someone there for you.

We've never had to do anything on our own.

"The first day of school we all went together and were in the same class. Then we started our first jobs together as Saturday girls in the same department store, Wengers in Newcastle."

Gillian was born first, fol-lowed by identical twins Brenda and Kathleen.

"Until we were 16 we dressed exactly the same," said Kathleen, who is married to Ian and has a son Adam 19.

She tells how when she first started dating husband Ian as a 15-year-old, wherever they went, her sisters came too.

"If he wanted to take me out, he had to take all three of us! He got some funny looks in the street" she jokes.

Their closeness also borders on the telepathic, such is the bond between them and they say in 50 years they have never had a falling out.

On birthdays they would get each other the same cards or presents.

And when Kathleen went into labour, sister Brenda claims she knew at once and phoned her dad before he had a chance to call her.

Brenda, who lives with partner Coleen Draycott, said: "I just got a feeling something had happened and I rang my dad, who told me Kath had just gone into labour. We do seem to sense how the other is feeling."

The sisters have also taken up similar professions in healthcare.

Kathleen and Brenda both work at Newcastle's RVI, Kathleen in the eye department and Brenda as a senior social work practitioner. Gillian is a day care centre manager.

They also have three other siblings: Joseph, Win and Julie and along with proud mam Elizabeth, 78, they joined them in celebrating at their party.

Their dad Joseph passed away 15 years ago.

Brenda said: "When we were born our mam had five children under five. I don't know how she managed. There were no washing machines, no disposable nappies, no central heating."

She added: "We'd like to thank all our family and friends for helping to make our birthday so special."

The three little girls who hit the headlines WHEN Elizabeth and Joseph Ross announced the birth of their three girls, the trio soon hit the headlines.

Their unusual birth featured in The Chronicle and we have followed them throughout their life - from their first birthday party to their first day at St Bede's School, Whickham View, Newcastle.

We then went back to snap the striking girls for their 18th and 21st birthdays.

According to website Twins UK there were 149 sets of triplets born in the UK in 2006.

One in 4,973 pregnancies is a triplet pregnancy. The triplet rate in the UK used to be about 1 in 10,000 pregnancies but this figure almost quadrupled between 1970 and 1998 with the introduction of assisted conception techniques. Mixed triplets like the Ross sisters occur when two eggs are released and fertilized separately, and one of those fertilised eggs splits again.

Maddalena Granata, born in 1839 in Italy, gave birth to 15 sets of triplets.

CAPTION(S):

BIG DAY Above right, the Ross triplets look forward to their 50th birthday tomorrow. From left, Gillian Seville, Brenda Ross and Kathleen Senior; above left, the triplets growing up over the years; left, with their birthday cake
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 17, 2012
Words:759
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