Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Twins reunited 78 years after being separated at birth


Twin sisters were reunited yesterday after being separated at birth 78 years ago in Aldershot.

It is the longest that a set of twins have been apart before seeing each other again, according to the Guinness World Records, and for Ann Hunt and Elizabeth Hamel it was an emotional moment.

“It’s so wonderful, I’m not on my own any more. I’ve got no words to say. I’m so happy – I have Elizabeth,” said Ann.

Ann, who was given up for adoption and grew up in Aldershot, England where she was born, did not know she had a sister, while Elizabeth, who was kept by her mother and ended up in Portland, Oregon in the United States, found out at the age of 15.

“I was over the moon, I couldn’t speak,” Hunt told the BBC when discussing their first phone call a year ago.

“I let Elizabeth speak mostly, I had to pinch myself because I realised, I’ve got a sibling, a sister.”

Elizabeth (L) and Ann (R) reunited for the first time Image: BBC

The reunion was the result of a 13 year search for answers by Ann, who found a copy of her birth certificate the year that her adoptive mother Gladys died in 2001. Ann’s daughter, who had a keen interest in genealogy and family trees, helped her to start putting the pieces of her family history together.

“We’ve found your sister but there’s a bonus,” she remembers her daughter telling her. “She’s your twin sister.”

Ann (L) and Elizabeth (R) on their wedding days. They both married men named Jim. Image: BBC

After speaking on the phone, Elizabeth wrote a letter to her twin explaining why she was the only one given up for adoption.

“I had curvature of the spine, which in those days was something which made a person unadoptable," she says. "We were both going to be adopted but when mother found out about the curvature of the spine, she decided to keep me."

The twins are due to go to Elizabeth's home in Oregon in a few days, where she is throwing a party for Ann, her daughter Samantha, and 80 of her closest friends.

Sadly, both Ann and Elizabeth have lost their husbands.

"I feel like I've known Liz all my life now," Ann says.

Words: Michelle Fowler, Images: BBC



The Brontë sisters' words of wisdom


Josh Duhamel: On fatherhood and family


How my mother defied the Nazis


Twin panda cubs celebrate one-month birthday


Mariah Carey on losing 70lbs after twins


Polar bear twins reunite



Gin lovers, we have distressing news for you…

And there we were thinking 2016 couldn’t get any worse

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Oct 2016

The new Gilmore Girls trailer has us very worried about Lorelai

Lorelai and Rory fans, prepare for a series of bombshells…

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Oct 2016

Our kind of cauldron: darkly delicious Halloween cocktail recipes

Jacked-up Negronis and chilli-laced concoctions

by Amy Swales
25 Oct 2016

“Why we need to remove the term Essex Girl from the dictionary”

It's time to reclaim the term once and for all

by Sarah Biddlecombe
25 Oct 2016

Revealed: the 20 most fashionable baby names in France

These melodic French baby names are très bien

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Oct 2016

Small fibs could turn you into a full-blown liar, study finds

“What a tangled web we weave...”

by Anna Pollitt
25 Oct 2016

Bake Off’s Mary Berry confirmed for brand-new cooking show

And it’s hitting our screens in time for a very Berry Christmas…

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Oct 2016

This 'Very British Problems' Twitter account is all of us

"Best weekend activity: a really nice sitdown"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Oct 2016

13 Going on 30 is the latest film to get a musical makeover

by Amy Swales
24 Oct 2016

This streaming service is so boring it will send you to sleep

Forget Netflix and chill

by Harriet Hall
24 Oct 2016