October 21 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, February 15, 2014
A brother and sister born and raised in Great Yarmouth have celebrated their 90th birthdays with their adored and ever-growing family.
Twins Peggy Gooda and Wally Philpot were bowled over when they arrived at the Cliff Hotel in Gorleston on Saturday – and found 50 friends and family waiting for them.
The surprise party was organised by Peggy’s daughter Rosalyn Wheadon and Wally’s daughter Susan.
“We’d told Uncle Wally he was going for a family meal,” said Rosalyn, 66. “And mum thought the same. Mum actually arrived first and, as my uncle got there, I said, ‘Look out the window, who can you see?’.
“Her eyesight’s not as good as it was but she said, ‘Oh, it’s my Wally’.
“They were just so happy; they were hanging off each other. It was really lovely. We had a fantastic day.”
Peggy and Wally are from a family of 13 children, all born in Yarmouth.
The Philpots lived in Newgate Street, in Priory Plain and later in South Market Road, and the twins were both pupils at St Mary’s School in Albion Road, a Catholic school run by nuns of the St Louis order.
Peggy married Edward Gooda, a Navy man, at 19 and moved to St Mary’s Lane. The siblings remained close with Wally setting up home in Cobholm.
“I will always remember growing up with my aunts and uncles,” said Rosalyn. “They’ve always been a close family and now, with all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, it’s still a big family.”
While Peggy worked at Johnson and Son making oilskins for fishermen, Wally worked as a porter at Yarmouth hospital. During the war, she was a “clippy” on the buses and he served in Italy with the army. It was while in Italy that Wally met his first wife, Anna, who returned with him to the east coast of England.
Wally worked at Woolworths and, for many years, at Doughty’s sports shop – but he was also a born-entertainer. He was a skating instructor at the Winter Gardens and regularly performed on stage.
“I remember him being in a Black and White Minstrel show and singing Mammy,” added Rosalyn.
Wally and his family moved to London and to Ely, where he still lives.
Peggy divides her time between her Yarmouth home and visiting friends in Downham Market.
And while the siblings, who still meet up on a regular basis, are twins – they actually celebrate their birthdays on separate days as they were born either side of midnight on February 12 and 13.
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