THEY were inseparable in life – and in death too: famous York twin Freda Chaplin has died and has been buried beside her sister Greta in York, The Press can exclusively reveal.
Freda died in May at the age of 77 – almost 13 years after her twin sister Greta passed away. She has been buried with her sister at a family plot in Fulford Cemetery.
The Press has learned that Freda visited her sister’s grave every morning, taken there by her carer, until she was too ill to maintain the daily vigil.
And it has been revealed that proceeds from sale of the twins’ childhood home in Tang Hall – a semi detached house – will be left to charity, including a cats’ organisation that took in Freda’s cat Molly after she died.
The twins were well-known the world over. They were identical, inseparable and lived their entire lives in complete unison, wearing the same clothes, walking in step and talking at the same time.
Press cuttings from the twins’ court case at York Magistrates’ Court in 1981
They shot to global fame and notoriety in the early 1980s, at the age of 38, when they were both jailed for a month for breaching the peace. They had been taken to court by York lorry driver Ken Iveson, who claimed the pair had hounded him for years. It was said they had developed a joint obsession with him, possibly because a joint crush had been spurned.
At York Magistrates’ Court, onlookers were stunned when the pair uttered exactly the same sentences at the same time, without rehearsal or prompting.
The twins were also the subject of two documentaries and arguably became two of the most famous twin sisters in the world.
Freda and Greta Chaplin appearing in the documentary: A Pair of One
When Greta died of cancer in 2007, friends and neighbours feared how Freda would cope.
The family friend said: “I thought within a week she would have died.
“They did absolutely everything together: putting their headscarves on looking at one another and not at a mirror. They even Hoovered together.
“But she did manage. She had a cat and a dog and worshipped them. She lived on nothing. She ate bread and cheese or toast and cheese – not butter or anything.”
Until she became unwell, Freda was taken by her carer every morning to Fulford Cemetery to visit her sister’s grave.
The friend also revealed that Freda left her family home to a local cats’ home that is now looking after pet cat, Molly.
Freda’s home in Tang Hall, York, which will be left to charity
She said: “The house is going to a cats’ home. She loved cats. She had one or two – she had Molly when she died.”
The friend said Freda had been suffering from cancer and had been living at the family house up until she was taken into hospital in April.
She said: “She phoned me up one day and said: ‘I am poorly’. I said: ‘Get yourself to bed, get a hot drink, and keep warm – and start eating more food than what you are’.
“The following morning, they were pushing her out to an ambulance. That was the last I saw of her.”
She added: “She wasn’t really well. She had cancer a while back. She used to say to me: ‘well I wouldn’t let my twin have treatment so I am not having any’.”
Belinda Poulter was Freda’s solicitor for many years and attended her funeral. She confirmed that most of the estate was being left to charity and added: “She was very fond of her animals and missed her sister every single day.”
She said around 10 people attended Freda’s funeral and that she was buried “on top” of her sister in a double plot which is awaiting their headstone.
She said: “She was quiet but had some strong views about animal welfare and felt very strongly about that.”
Freda and Greta were the daughters of James and Elsie Chaplin. It was said that Freda and Greta had been ordinary children but as teenagers they became ultra-dependent on one another. They would scream when teachers made them sit apart in school, and would resist efforts to distinguish or divide them.
Records from York Register Office show Greta died of ovarian cancer and carcinomatosis in June 2007, aged 64.