Two British women in their 100s have been named the oldest sisters in the world, after one celebrated a record breaking birthdays. Marjorie Ruddle, who recently turned 105, and Dorothy Richards, 108, were awarded Guinness Book of World Records certificates at a special party to held to celebrate the landmark.
The sisters, who grew up together in Northamptonshire, were keen tennis players and used to holiday together, but had not seen each other for two-and-a-half years because they became too frail to travel.
But last week the elder of the pair, Dorrie managed to make the trip from Stamford, Lincs., to surprise Marjorie at the Park House nursing home in Peterborough, Cambs., and the sisters were reunited for a knees up.
"How do I feel?” Marjorie responded to questions. “Rather embarrassed. I haven't seen her for ages so it is very nice to see her again. "Marjorie's daughter Pat Comber, from Rutland, said: "My mother's certificate will be put up in pride of place in her room. "It is a remarkable achievement and my family and I are very proud of them.
"Both Marjorie and Dorothy are very active and on the ball for their ages. They certainly know what's going on. "I'm not sure if they have secrets for living for so long but just that they've tried to stay fit and active.”
Pat explained that it was her family’s idea to find out if her mum and aunt were record breakers.
"We've always wondered whether Dorrie and Marjorie were the oldest sisters around and last year decided to find out,” she explained. "We contacted the Guinness World Records and it took them several weeks to do their research and confirm it.
"To be honest I would have been surprised to find any siblings older than them and I think it may be a long time before their record is broken."
The two girls grew up in Northampton with their sister Hilda, who died aged 40 from MS, and two brothers Bernard and Ross, who died aged just 49.
On the day of the record break, the aggregate age of the sisters was 213 years, three months, and 27 days Marjorie, who was born in Northampton back in 1907, has three children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. After moving to Peterborough in the 1930s, she worked in the surgery of her husband Dr James Robertson Wills.
Mr Wills died from an illness in 1949 and a year later Marjorie married architect Alan Ruddle.
Marjorie says she has never smoked a cigarette and enjoyed a number of hobbies including playing bridge, gardening, tennis and embroidery. Sue Corrans, a senior carer at the Park House nursing home, added, "Marjorie is so on the ball. "She likes having a bit of banter with the nurses and keeping them on their toes at all times.”
On October 29, 1927, Dorrie married Stanley Richards. They moved to Stamford in April, 1941, with their two young sons Graham and Philip, and their third son Martin was born in the town in 1943.
Stanley took over an opticians business in St Mary's Street, Stamford, where he remained until his death at the age of 58 in 1961.
Dorrie ran a pottery shop in St Mary's Hill until she retired and now she is cared for at Whitefriars nursing home in Stamford, Lincs.
Dorrie's son Philip, who lives in Stamford, Lincs., said, "Auntie Marjorie didn't know that Mother was coming today. The look on their faces was amazing.
"They struggled across the room and gave each other a big hug and we were all in tears." A spokesperson from Guinness World Records confirmed the sisters had the "highest combined age of two living siblings in the world".