Village sees double with twins boom

VILLAGERS are crediting “something in the water” for an incredible increase in the number of twins enrolling at the local school.

Will Clarke

VILLAGERS are crediting “something in the water” for an incredible increase in the number of twins enrolling at the local school.

But the mysterious population explosion, which has left teachers at Glemsford Primary School seeing double, is nothing new for the village near Sudbury - which boasts at least 18 sets of twins aged from 19 months upwards.

Around one in 100 residents in the 4,000-strong village is believed to be a twin.

Now Jane Harman, one proud mum of non-identical twins - two-year-olds Lily and Ella - wants to get to the bottom of why Glemsford has so many twins.

“I am amazed at the amount of twins in such a small place. People in the village say it must be something in the water,” she said.

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“I have no idea what is going on. It seems every time I speak to someone they are saying so and so has had twins. I am not the only one who thinks something is going on. It would be interesting to find out.”

Mrs Harman knows of eight sets of young twins in the village and there are a large number of older twins - many of them former pupils at the local school.

She admits having twins herself was a “shock” but she was grateful they have had the “wonderful opportunity” of growing up together.

“They are quite a handful,” she said. “But it is nice they have each other to play with even though sometimes they fight. When we found out we had twins on the way it was shocking. It took a long time to sink in. When you first have them your world is turned upside down and you wonder how you're every going to cope.

“Of course it's double the work, double the worrying and double the expense but it's also a wonderful, amazing experience with double the fun and double the love and affection. It's a nightmare I wouldn't be without.”

Hayley Leeder, mum of identical five-year-old twins Alex and Cleo, speculated that happiness in the village might lead to so many twins.

“Maybe the number of twins is so high because of the quality of life here,” she said. “I love living in Glemsford, it has a lovely atmosphere.”

Liz Steele, headteacher at the school, confirmed twins were becoming increasingly common in classes: “We have four sets of twins and two more coming in from play school and two sets of identical twins.

“I think it is a school record. I can't tell the difference with the identical twins but I am sure their teachers can, although one set does have their names embroidered on their sweaters, which helps.”

Jane Denton, director of the Multiple Birth Foundation, said a number of reasons might be behind the village's explosion in twin numbers: “Some of it might be because of fertility treatment. There are also rare genetic conditions which can cause twinning.”

Nigel Sandford, 57, who runs Glemsford Social Club and is a twin himself, said the young twins were lucky to have each other: “Being a twin makes you very close. It is more than growing up together - it is a sixth sense. We never fought and I think the best thing is that the closeness is there for the rest of your life.”

A spokeswoman for Anglian Water said: “We are delighted to hear the folk of Glemsford are so fertile and would be honoured to think the excellence of our tap water was in any way responsible. Of course, the health benefits of drinking plenty of water are well known.”

n Can your town or village beat Glemsford? If you think it has more sets of twins, then call the EADT newsdesk on 01473 324732, or email news@eadt.co.uk

nNationally, one in every 80 natural conceptions is a twin but with IVF one in every four is a twin.

n In west Suffolk in 2006, 36 sets of twins were born - an increase of more than 50% compared with 1999's figure of 24.

n Figures show the UK has more twins than ever before - since 1982 the number of twins in the UK has risen by a third.

n Research has shown the bond between twins begins before they are born. An Italian scientist has filmed twins in the womb stroking and patting each other.

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