IDENTICAL 93-year-old twins from West Yorkshire, who feared they would never see each other again when they both went into nursing homes, have been reunited by staff.
Geoffrey and Donald Oates thought they had seen each other for the last time as their health deteriorated.
But a surprise meeting was organised for Donald when his brother Geoffrey travelled with family to see him at his care home in Garstang, Preston.
The pair had grown up in Halifax, but Donald moved away so he and wife, Ellen, could be close to her family.
While the two could drive and were able bodied the 70-mile journey took only an hour.
But when they went into care homes the distance was impossible to cross.
It was decided that it was imperative to get them together and on December 20, the brothers met for the first time in four years at Donald’s care home, Cornmill Nursing and Residential Home, in Garstang.
His son, Ian, 66, a retired oil worker, who also lives in Garstang, said: “It was a very emotional meeting.
“We had to bring Geoffrey here to see my dad as he can’t travel.
“So it was a surprise for my dad. It was great when Geoffrey wheeled down the corridor and we said to my dad: ‘We’ve got somebody to see you’.
“It was very emotional. All the nurses were crying. It was amazing.”
Ian added: “They were so pleased to see each other because they cannot even talk on the phone anymore because Uncle Geoffrey’s hearing isn’t so good.”
The pair were born, with Geoffrey arriving first, on January 14, 1923, into the the post First World War depression.
They stuck to each other like glue through school and father-of-one Ian recalls how his dad told him they would always stand up for each other.
He said: “Nobody would mess with them because they knew they came as a pair.”
As they got older they would attend ballroom dances together and both met their wives at the same dance.
They then both went into engineering and avoided going off to war in World War II as their skills were needed back home - with Donald volunteering for the Home Guard.
The brothers always remained close and looked alike - with Ian telling how he would even get his own dad mixed up with his uncle.
Ian said: “But they never played tricks on the ladies or anything, It wasn’t like that in those days.”
The family are not sure if they will meet up again.
Ian said: “It was quite hard work to sort and, of course, it will depend on how their health is.
“But they really loved seeing each other again. It was a fab day, they had a special lunch and everything.”
Ian has asked them if they would like to be in the same care home together but as they both have separate lives in different towns, neither of them want to move.