BRITAIN’S only twins born on coronation day celebrated their 60th birthday last weekend.
Norman Phillip O’Neill and Norma Elizabeth Deeprose instantly became local celebrities when they arrived in the world on June 2, 1953.
Their parents, Marie and Albert O’Neill, were only expected one baby so arranged a home birth where they lived in Carisbrooke Road, St Leonards.
Norma was the first to be born at 12.45am with her twin brother arriving 10 minutes later.
Mrs Deeprose, of Ian Close, Pebsham, said: “My mum was totally surprised when the midwife told her she was having twins. This was long before the ultrasound.
“In those days a mother didn’t give birth to twins at home.”
Her middle name is Elizabeth and her brother’s, Phillip, in honour of the Queen and Prince Phillip.
Their parents chose the names to mark the Queen’s coronation on the day they were born.
Mrs Deeprose, who works at Whitefriars Care Home in Bexhill, said: “After we were born the Mayor of Hastings presented my parents with a new pram. There was also a big photograph of us plastered in the window of Plummers in town (now Debenhams).”
Others offered gifts to the twins.
Both Mrs Deeprose and her brother became a source of interest for the press. They were featured in the Observer when they reached their first birthday.
Both attended St Mary Star-of-the-Sea School in Magdalen Road, St Leonards before going to St Richard’s Catholic College in Bexhill.
The twins were interviewed by the BBC in 2002 when the Queen marked her Golden Jubilee.
Mr O’Neill moved to Telford in Shropshire more than 40 years ago and now works for a firm that manufactures car seats.
He said: “It often gets mentioned by people that we are the Coronation Twins and it’s nice that it comes to the forefront, which is quite amazing.”
Mrs Deeprose is also a mother-of-two and her brother has four children.
They held their party last Saturday (June 1) for friends and family at Mrs Deeprose’s Pebsham home.
The twins have one surviving older sister, Sandra, who is 64. Their other sister Maureen sadly died in 2000, aged 57.