England 1 Scotland 1

Joe Fox and Donna Keenan with their children Jessica and newly born twins Dylan and Hannah.
Joe Fox and Donna Keenan with their children Jessica and newly born twins Dylan and Hannah.

They may look like two peas in a pod, but these 11-day-old twins were born in different countries, just an hour-and-a-half apart.

Dylan Joseph entered the world right here in north Northumberland while his sister Hannah Rose joined the family, made up of mum Donna Keenan, dad Joe Fox and sister Jessica, two-and-a-half, in Scotland.

Joe Fox and Donna Keenan with their children Jessica and newly born twins Dylan and Hannah.

Joe Fox and Donna Keenan with their children Jessica and newly born twins Dylan and Hannah.

The tiny duo weren’t expected until July 28, but the family, from Wooler, was thrown into disarray when 28-year-old Donna’s waters broke on Sunday, July 1.

That very morning, Donna and Joe, 24, had been up to the Borders General Hospital in Melrose for a blood check and were due to go back on Wednesday, as Donna was at risk of some potentially fatal complications.

But within an hour-and-a-half of getting back to Wooler, and Joe’s parents’ house, her waters had broken.

Joe, who works at Haggerston Castle, said: “It was a mad rush from then.

“I came back home, which is a two-minute journey, to get my mobile phone and a bag for Donna.

“Then I got a call to say that she had gone into labour and to get back.”

By this time, a paramedic had arrived, but the ambulance. which was coming from Amble, was still a way off, there was no midwife and the paramedic was starting to get a bit nervous.

Joe’s dad Anthony went out as he knew a midwife lived nearby. He knocked on the wrong door at first but eventually found her.

She was off-duty and had been drinking while watching the Euro 2012 final that night, but was able at least to provide some reassurance.

“We would have been stuck without her,” said Donna, who works at Sunnyhills of Belford.

When the ambulance did arrive, it was decided that there was not enough time to get to hospital so Dylan, who weighed 5lb 13oz, was born right there in the living room of Joe’s parents, Anthony and Evis.

The labour had lasted only an hour-and-a-half to two hours and Donna had gone through it all with no pain relief at all.

Joe said: “Jessica was upstairs and could hear her mam screaming.

“My brother was with her and was telling her that the doctor was tickling her.”

The race was now on to get up to the Borders before twin number two made her entrance.

“It was horrible, it was the worst journey ever,” said Donna.

“When you are having contractions in the back of an ambulance, it’s not good.”

But they made it and Hannah, weighing 4lb 14½oz, joined her brother at 11.39pm, with Dylan having been born at 10pm.

With all of the mayhem and drama, the couple hadn’t realised the significance of the cross-border birth at first.

Joe said: “One of the nurses that was in there turned round to both of us and said ‘we have had twins born either side of midnight but not in different countries’.

“I had actually said that we were 20 minutes from them being born on different days.

Referring to the media interest, he added: “It’s been manic, we didn’t think for one second that it would mean all this.”

Joe has now managed to track down outfits with England and Scotland flags for the two. “I want to try to get them Sunderland tops as well,” he added.

The couple also thanked all the staff at the special care unit and Ward 12 at the hospital.