Schoolgirls Sophie Anderson and Megan Hill share a very special bond that began the day they were born.
For not only did the pair both arrive two weeks early on February 29, 2000 – meaning this week marked their ‘sweet 16th’ and their official fourth birthdays, they have shared some remarkable coincidences since then.
Mums Ann Anderson and Claire Hill, struck up a friendship at ante-natal classes when they realised they were both from the Denny area.
The girls were born just three hours apart in Falkirk Royal Infirmary with Sophie arriving first – and both weighed 5lb 13ozs.
Being premature and having some medical problems, the pair lay side-by-side in incubators in the hospital’s special care baby unit for several weeks.
Once they brought their babies home, the mums kept in close touch.
Over the years they’ve watched their girls grow up, as well as battling to overcome some serious health issues.
Sophie, a pupil at Carrongrange School, has Down’s Syndrome, as well as problems with her larynx.
Until recently she was able to run about and loved to go swimming, but sadly an accident last summer has left her in a wheelchair and she is waiting to go in for surgery on her ankle.
St Modan’s High pupil Megan suffers from the rare Klippel Feil syndrome where vertebrae in her neck area are fused together.
Both girls have also been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and the families often bump into each other at hospital appointments.
But the two youngsters never let things get them down.
Megan hopes to go to university and is considering studying criminology, while Sophie recently became an auntie when big sister Jade (22) gave birth to son Jace on January 28.
Ann, of Temple Denny Road, said: “Both girls usually celebrate their birthdays on February 28 but in leap years it is a bit special.”
Megan, who lives in Glebe Street, admitted that every four years she enjoys being able to have a special celebration.
Mum Claire said: “They’re not going to be able to have their 18ths or 21st on their real birthday but I’ve worked out that when they are 40 or ’ten’ it will be quite a party.”
The Falkirk Herald was invited along to meet the pair when they had their ‘first’ birthdays in 2004 and this week went back to catch up with them – as well as present them with a birthday cake, courtesy of Marshalls Family Bakers of Falkirk.