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Twin sisters on same path

yaxleyoaklands story

Twin sisters on same path. They are sister care homes in more than one sense. Oaklands in Scole, near Diss and Yaxley House, in nearby Yaxley, are both run by Kingsley Healthcare – and by identical twin sisters. The resemblance of Oaklands manager Helen Gosling to her 40-year-old twin Paula Baker, in charge at Yaxley, has caused more than the odd moment of bewilderment to families and health professionals visiting both homes, which are less than five miles apart.

The confusion is compounded by the fact that Paula was deputy manager at Oaklands two years before her sister took over as manager.   Helen, who, like her sister has been in the care profession for 25 years, said: “When I arrived here 18 months ago, having previously been manager at Kingsley’s Brooke House, near Norwich, some of the families thought I was Paula coming back.” She said she had been called Paula on many occasions while the faces of other people clearly showed their confusion. “One social worker who had met Paula at Yaxley kept looking at me and then said, ‘you are not Paula are you’,” she recalled. Paula, from Lowestoft, said her sister had helped give her career a big boost when she arrived at Oaklands as deputy manager. She said: “Helen was usually full at Brooke and used to send prospective residents my way. Social workers and families would comment on how good Helen was and trust that as her twin sister, I would have the same high standards and philosophy of care.”  

Paula, whose daughter Chloe, 21, is a support worker at Brooke House, said: “When I know families are going to look around Oaklands as well I always pre-warn them and say, ‘don’t be alarmed, my sister is there and we look alike’.” Helen, who has twin sons Luke and Liam, both 14, added: “I always recommend Yaxley when we are full and tell them we are sister homes and that my sister is there – they buy into that.”    

Author: Stephen Pullinger

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