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Friday, June 12, 1998 Published at 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK

Health: Latest News

Quads celebrate 50 years of firsts

Frances, Elizabeth and Jennifer Good: the three surviving quadruplets today

Frances, Jennifer, Elizabeth and Bridget Good became superstars the minute they were born by Caesarean section fifty years ago this week.

The whole country was enthralled by news of the four sisters from Gloucestershire who were the first quadruplets in the world to survive.

[ image: The quads ready for school]
The quads ready for school
They left hospital and arrived at the family home in the full glare of the world's media. They were greeted by large crowds, including a marching band. Even the square where they were to live was named The Quadrangle in their honour.

Half a century later, three of the sisters - Bridget unfortunately died at the age of 36 - are celebrating their golden jubilee with a party for 200 guests.

Life of luxury

The sisters fame led to a life of relative luxury. Cow and Gate sponsored their nannies, they were given free holidays at Butlins, and free shoes from Clarks in exchange for testing their feet as they grew.

[ image: The quads' parents]
The quads' parents
But there was a downside to making the headlines. Many people treated them as a freak show.

Jennifer said: "The other children just did not like the thought of the special treatment. They thought we were making money, which we weren't."

Frances said: "Mummy said she could very rarely take us shopping because she never got any shopping done. Everybody used to stop her to talk to her and to us. So she gave up taking us."

Knew the day before

Margaret Good did not know she was going to have quads until the day before the birth at Southmead's Special Care Baby Unit.

[ image: The quads were ready made playmates]
The quads were ready made playmates
Consultant paediatrician Dr Beryl Corner was present at the birth of the quads.

"We knew that we had to have four cots ready, four Queen Charlotte boxes, which were the sort of tents we put over the cots.

"We had got to have them all heated up with hot water bottles. Each cot had four hot water bottles in it and a thermometer in the corner to tell the temperature.

"And then at 2pm we were all assembled in the operating theatre."

The sisters say that they have remained very close all their lives.

Think the same

"You have got automatic companionship. You are there together, you grew up together, you have always got somebody to play with," said Jennifer.

"We very rarely argue. We did when we were little."

"We tend to think the same," said Frances. "When you have an age gap one is more mature than the other, but we were all the same"

The chances of having quads naturally are about one in half a million. But now, with fertility treatment about 12 sets are born every year.

A book based on Margaret Good's diaries is due to be published next month.

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