Haven't they grown up? Family photos show Walton sextuplets 27 years on
As the world’s only all-female sextuplets, they share the closest possible bond and have faced all of life’s little hurdles together.
For many years the Walton sisters – first-born Hannah, who was followed by Luci, Ruth, Sarah, Kate and Jennie – celebrated their similarities and would pose together for photos in the same school uniforms.
But now, after spending much of the past decade out of the limelight to live more privately, the 27-year-olds are all keen to stress their individuality.
Two of the sisters, who were born within four minutes of each other on November 18, 1983, are now brunettes. And while the other four still have their blonde locks, there are three different shades between them.
The siblings have also struck out in different directions for their careers, with some working abroad and others taking jobs in the UK.
Yet four still live in the eight-bedroom family home in Wallasey, Wirral, with parents Graham and Janet, a fifth will be returning this summer and the sixth lives just down the road.
Mrs Walton, 58, said: ‘Jennie was a bit of a leader because she climbed out of her cot first, Luci was shy as a toddler but has made up for that now, Sarah was the quietest, although not now, Ruth is quite bossy, Kate is academic and Hannah is very articulate and organised.
‘But they’ve always been close and they talk to each other all the time. And we still have meeting around the kitchen table, which we had for any big decision, such as parties, birthdays or school.’
Hannah, who was the lightest baby at 2lb 1oz, is studying for her PGCE teaching qualification to work in a primary school. She is currently single and enjoys shopping, reading and meeting friends in her spare time.
We’re all quite different. I like to go to the pub, watch the footie and play a bit of poker. I’m a bit of a boy really.’
Sarah is an administration worker at the Central Park Medical Centre in Liverpool and is saving up to buy a home with her boyfriend of four years.
The keep-fit fan, who weighed 2lb 5oz at birth, said: ‘I’m naturally a very clean person so it is hard being in this house. I like everything in its right place.'
Admin assistant Kate, who works in the human resources department at Liverpool John Moore’s University, is also at home saving money to buy her own place.
She is single and her interests include fashion, bowling and cinema.
‘Jennie, Luci and Ruth have all got the same sense of humour and are quite loud. Then me, Sarah and Hannah are the quieter ones and more sensible,’ said Kate, who was born weighing 2lb 13oz.
Jennie, who was the heaviest baby at 3lb 8oz, works as a children’s entertainer in a Majorca hotel but comes home for the off season.
She and her boyfriend have been together almost four years.
‘We are completely different people, from our hair colour to the way we dress and what we do,’ said Jennie, who enjoys shopping and drinking with friends in her free time.
The odds of having sextuplets are extremely low, with one occurring in every 4.5 million pregnancies.
But many end in miscarriages and, even if the babies defy the odds, the mortality rate is high. In more than 90 per cent of sextuplet births, one or more will die before their first birthday.
As a result, the Walton children attracted worldwide attention when they were born.
The girls were conceived using fertility treatment and their parents took a year off work to care for them full-time.
Mr Walton, 60, described living with seven women for much of his life as an ‘eye-opener’ but revealed he expected everything to change ‘dramatically, with weddings and babies likely to happen soon’.
However, he added: ‘If they all moved out tomorrow it would be dreadful. I love the noise and the shouting and have loved every minute of them growing up.’