Page 3 Profile: The Tweed siblings, record-breaking family


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The Independent Online

What have we got here – the Swiss Family Robinson?

More like the British Family Tweed. The Tweed clan, which comprises 12 siblings with a combined age of over 1,000 have been officially named the oldest family in the world.

How many of them are there?

There are seven brothers and five sisters, all aged between 76 and 95, in the Tweed contingent. They are: Elsie, 95, Reginald, 92, Robert, 91, Cynthia, 89 (not pictured above), Ralph, 87, Noel, 85, Eric, 83, Ronald, 82, Malcolm, 81, Valerie, 79, Phyllis, 78, and Eunice, 76.

That adds up to the ripe old age of 1,018, if my calculations are correct.

Even more if you add the additional days, weeks and months. The world record was finally recognised when their combined age totalled 1,019 years and 336 days, following months of checks by officials.

Their parents had their work cut out with so many children…

There were originally 16 siblings in their family but four – Joe, Julia, Jessie and Trevor – have passed away. Phyllis Smith joked her parents “had to snuggle up” because there was no central heating “and one thing leads to another”. 

Christmas and birthdays must cost them a pretty penny!

The siblings, who were brought up in Coventry by their mother Flo, a barmaid, and father Percy, a brewery drayman, have 33 grandchildren, 59 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great-grandchildren between them.

That’s one sprawling family tree…

“Growing up was fun, all being in the same house together,” said Valerie McCaffrey, who this week received an official certificate from Guinness World Records confirming their place in the history books. “It is great when we all get together. We all natter away for hours,” she added.