The Tipton Twins: Lovable sisters who stole the hearts of a nation

Lilian Cox and Doris Hobday became the talk of the town after stealing the nation’s hearts shortly after their 95th birthday back in 2019.

The Tipton Twins with members of comedy group The Fizzogs in 2019
The Tipton Twins with members of comedy group The Fizzogs in 2019

After appearing on television, the pair were stopped in the street, asked for photos in their local Asda and were doing happy birthday videos on Facebook.

They then appeared on This Morning with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby – and Piers Morgan was one of their biggest fans after their appearance on Good Morning Britain. TV presenter Rylan Clark-Neal also said he’d love to have the twins on re-booted show Supermarket Sweep.

It was announced earlier this month that the twins, who turned 96 in July last year, had tested positive for Covid-19. The duo first tested negative just before Christmas and decided to spend the festive period inside to stay safe. But a few days later, Doris suffered with a high temperature and Lilian had a cough and a second Covid test came back positive.

The Tipton Twins celebrate their 95th birthday

Lilian was also rushed to hospital and spent two weeks on oxygen, steroids, vitamins and antibiotics. She was discharged on Monday and is now recovering at home with her daughter.

The pair became known nationally as the Tipton Twins, after the area of the West Midlands where they lived. And when it emerged Doris had died, the reaction came from across the country too.

Paying tribute on social media after Doris’s death was announced, Piers Morgan said: “RIP Doris Hobday, 96. One of Britain’s two oldest twins and a delightful lady. She died from coronavirus. Her sister Lil got Covid too but survived and is now home from hospital. My deepest condolences to her on the loss of her beloved sister.”

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West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “Such sad news. As a pair Lil and Doris epitomised everything that is so wonderful about the Black Country, not least the razor-sharp humour. My thoughts are with Doris’s family and friends, and of course, Lilian who has lost her partner in crime.”

The deputy leader of the twins’ local council, Councillor Maria Crompton, said: “Our hearts go out to Lil and all the family. Doris has been such a huge part of their lives and a much-loved iconic character in Sandwell, alongside Lil.

“We will be remembering her and sending all our love to the family. How wonderful – and how typical of this family – that even at this time of loss, they find time to think of other people and take this opportunity to encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they get the chance. Please do take the advice.”

After they rose to fame in 2019, the twins told the Express & Star they were receiving messages from fans all over the world.

At the time, Lilian said: “We had a fella last Friday cross the road and he was wishing us all the very best, we didn’t know him and just said ‘thank you’, he was very nice.

“All sorts of people are stopping us, even little babbies, and we’re wishing people happy birthday on videos too.

Tipton Twins Lilian and Doris

“It’s amazing and so nice, we’re getting messages from New Zealand, Africa, everywhere.”

Doris added: “Everyone keeps saying ‘oh the twins’, and they keep stopping us, we can’t shop right.

“We’re being asked for photos. It can be a bit much – everyone’s always ignored us and we’ve ignored them but now we’re getting recognised everywhere. Anyone would think we’ve dropped out of space.

“You have to be 95 before anybody knows you’re alive, but we’re happy the way we are.”

Lilian and Doris even gathered quite a social media following – with more than 30,000 people liking and following their antics on the Lil & Doris Facebook page and Instagram account Tipton Twins.

Tipton Twins Lilian and Doris ahead of their helicopter ride

Only months ago they were treated to their first ever helicopter ride in honour of Grandparent’s Day. For the special trip, Lilian and Doris were joined by granddaughter Kerry and great-grandson Brayden.

The trip covered 25 miles over the West Midlands and the family were shown all the landmarks of the region from the sky. The twins said: “This really was an experience of a lifetime. What was even more special, is that we got to experience it with our great-grandson Brayden. These really are challenging times and not being able to see our family as often as we would like makes it even harder, especially with us being in the vulnerable category.”

They beloved duo even shared their budget cooking tips for the younger generation.

As loyal customers to the Asda Great Bridge store for over 20 years, they shared their Timeless Food Tips to help customers maximise their favourite dishes.

The sisters have always been together and have been part of their community throughout their lives. They were brought up in Tipton and lived just a few doors apart on Cotterills Road after getting married. They’ve never lived away from each other and were last living next door to each other in sheltered accommodation.

They famously said that the secret to old age is “no sex and plenty of Guinness” – and often jokingly spoke of their love for action movie star Jason Statham.

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