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Triplets given colour code to help teachers tell them apart.

Byline: Tom Bedford newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

THESE identical triplets have been colour-coded on their first day at nursery school - because even their own parents struggle to tell them apart.

Three-year-olds Ffion, Maddison and Paige Gilbert, from Pontypool, were given different coloured nail varnish to identify them when they were babies.

Ffion is fuschia, Maddison is mint and Paige is purple.

Now parents Karen and Ian Gilbert are using the same colours for their hair bands and bobbles at the nursery where they have just enrolled. And the colours even match the first letter of the names of the identical trio.

Karen, 35, said: "We have colourcoded them since they were tiny babies - it helped us keep track of which ones had been fed.

"But nail varnish isn't allowed in school so we had come up with come other way.

"We have bought each of them hair bands and bobbles in their own colours. And it helps that the colours and the girls' names start with the same letter.' Full-time mum Karen and Ian, 38, briefed teachers about their colourcoding idea at an induction day for tots at George Street Primary School in Pontypool.

But if they get confused they can check with the girls' big sister Faye, seven, who goes to the same school.

Karen said: "The triplets are very excited at starting school after having their third birthday a month ago. "They have matching uniforms so we had to be quite ingenious on how to help people tell them apart.

"The girls have their names on their cardigans to help reduce the chance of any confusion, but obviously they cannot wear those all day. "So the different coloured bobbles and hairbands will help the teachers and their classmates.

"But we are hoping that after a while they will be able to tell them apart in the same way we have."

They triplets were conceived naturally from one egg - against odds of 160,000-1 according to the Multiple Births Foundation.

Ffion, Maddison and Paige, weighing 3lb 8oz, 3lb 5oz and 3lb 4oz, were delivered via emergency caesarean section two months early.

In the early days Karen and company director Ian got through 120 nappies and 84 bottles of formula milk a week.

But the trio started earning their keep with appearances on BBC's Casualty and the Sky TV drama Stella.

Because they are so identical the programme makers could swap the babies around to help with filming schedules.

Ian and Karen are putting their film careers on hold while they get started at nursery.

A spokesman for the school said: "The hairbands and bobbles are a great idea - it will be colourful having the girls here."

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<B From left, three-year-olds Ffion, Paige and Maddison Gilbert show off their coloured headbands

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 13, 2016
Words:463
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