Summer celebration on the agenda as triplets turn 60

They say two's company and three's a crowd – but it's also been great fun for triplets Andrew, Martin and Paul Tunney, who marked their 60th birthdays this week.

Triplets Andrew, Paul and Martin Tunney celebrate their 60th birthday
Triplets Andrew, Paul and Martin Tunney celebrate their 60th birthday

However, it is also a milestone tinged with sadness, as it was their first birthday since the loss of their mother Pauline, who died in December.

The trio have also been forced to delay their celebrations until the summer, due to the Covid lockdown regulations.

The Tunney triplets, left to right, Martin, Paul and Andrew, pictured outside their home in Chester Avenue, Tettenhall, on their fourth birthday in 1965, with proud mother Pauline Tunney, on the way to stock up the party larder

Growing up in Chester Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, the Tunney triplets enjoyed the status of local celebrities, even featuring in the BBC documentary series Horizon.

"We all went to the same school, two of us were in the same class," says Andrew, who now lives in Penkridge.

Their birthdays were regularly marked in the Express & Star, and they were invited to open the triple-screen Odeon cinema in 1973.

Guests of honour at the opening of Wolverhampton's three-screen Odeon in October 1973 - three sets of triplets: the Tunneys from Tettenhall, the Allibands from Netherton, and the Lowes from Shifnal

Andrew, who was the first of the triplets to be born, remembers them all passing their driving test on the same day in 1978.

"It was sheer coincidence, our mum put all three applications in one envelope, and they all came back with the same date," he says.

"I remember I was up last, so it was down to me to make it a hat-trick. We all had lessons from Mr Turner, he was an excellent instructor."

The triplets all passed their driving test on the same day in 1978

In adult life, there were more coincidences to follow, with the triplets all working at TI Welding in Wednesfield, Sun Valley Foods in Wolverhampton, and later at London Midland Trains.

"We've always been close, but we've never been they type who are in each other's houses every five minutes," says Andrew.

"But if one of us needs a hand with something, we are right round to help."

Andrew, Martin and Paul aged three weeks, with father Graham Tunney

"People think because you are triplets you have some sort of telepathy, which we don't, but we always went to dental and doctor's appointments at the same time.

"We look a little different now, but when we were younger people couldn't tell us apart, we would all wear the same clothes, my mum would get us the same shirts and trousers, I suppose because it was easier."

Andrew along with Paul, who lives in Wolverhampton, and Martin, who lives in Shifnal, turned 60 on Monday.

Having a ball at the Ambassador Bowling Centre, Wolverhampton, in July 1965, were the three-year-old Wolverhampton triplets, Paul, Martin, and Andrew Tunney, seen with their dad Graham Tunney, of Tettenhall. Pub: 3 Jul 1965

Their father Graham, who was known as a prolific letter writer to the Express & Star, died in 2010 aged 75. He had worked as principal health and safety officer at Birmingham City Council.

Their mother Pauline died on December 12 last year, and Andrew says he is full of admiration for the hard work both his parents did in bringing them up.

"It must have been very difficult, I think they were lucky in that they had a lot of help off my grandparents in terms of babysitting and the like," he says.

"They would have had to have done three lots of washing, and that was in the days before automatic washing machines, it would have all be done with a top loader, and then putting it in the spin dryer.

"I think it was quite hard work getting us all off to school together, and I'm told we could be little tinkers when we were small."

Andrew, Paul, and Martin Tunney celebrating their 50th birthday at The Crown in Bridgnorth in 2011

Ten years ago the triplets marked their 50th birthdays in memorable style, with a trip on the Severn Valley Railway, but there has been no such celebrations this year.

Andrew, who now works as an HGV driver and in his spare time serves as a Special police officer, says he hopes to have a family get-together in the summer, once the lockdown is over.

"My step-daughter will be getting married in the summer as well, so that will be the time to have a family celebration," he says.

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