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Belfast triplets 'together in spirit' as they mark 87th birthdays apart


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Marigold (l), Iris (top r) and Primrose (bottom r)

Marigold (l), Iris (top r) and Primrose (bottom r)

Marigold (l), Iris (top r) and Primrose (bottom r)

It was a birthday like no other for the UK's oldest surviving triplets.

The three Belfast woman, who have celebrated together for as long as their family can remember, spent the day apart in isolation due to the coronavirus restrictions.

Primrose Page, Iris Bull and Marigold Milliken were content to accept well wishes through phone calls and accept flowers and cards from family members left at their front doorsteps.

The Belfast sisters all turned 87 on Thursday, having been born on Easter Sunday 1933. They have been almost inseparable throughout their lives.

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A childhood picture of the three sisters

A childhood picture of the three sisters

A childhood picture of the three sisters

All three still do not live too many miles apart in Bangor, Holywood and Castlereagh, but close though they are birthday celebrations were put to one side for the first time.

As a tradition, the wider family have always got together on Easter Sunday to celebrate. That day passed without the usual gathering.

On Thursday the birthdays were marked at their three separate homes with chats rather than hugs, telephone calls rather than the memories of good times around the party table.

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Primrose Page

Primrose Page

Primrose Page

"It's been a different sort of birthday for the three of them," said Page McLaughlin, Primrose's granddaughter, who spent the day making sure flowers were delivered to their doorsteps, all the time mindful of the strict guidelines in social distancing.

"We had plans to all get together as usual on Easter Sunday but that obviously couldn't happen as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

"My granny and aunties are all still living in their own homes and given their age and health conditions, they know we can't all be with them this year."

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Marigold Milliken

Marigold Milliken

Marigold Milliken

Born in the south east of England, the triplets moved to Belfast with their parents and older sister Marguerite not long after the end of the Second World War.

Though the celebrations were muted, Iris Bull said that even though the family couldn't be together, they were with each other in spirit.

"We're always there for each other," she said.

Primrose Page said that the family will be making a special effort to make up for missing out this year.

"Family occasions like this become all the more precious as the years go on so of course we'd all love to be together, but the best way we can think of showing them we love them all is by staying away," she added.

"Sure we will make it up to them on their 88th birthdays next Easter!"

Belfast Telegraph