Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lawson Quins: Happy Birthday!

They made headlines all over New Zealand and years later we (of a certain generation) still wonder: whatever happened to the Lawson Quins?
Today in history, on July 27th.1965 Auckland fish'n'chip shop owners Sam and Ann Lawson became proud parents of quintuplets at 33 weeks. This was the first set of surviving quintuplets conceived through fertility medication, the only NZ quintuplets - one boy and four girls: Selina, Shirlene, Lisa, Deborah and Sam - and only the fifth set of quins in the world to survive. Chances of this birth were calculated at 41-million-to-one!!
The Queen sent her congratulations. Companies donated products. The public and media fascination were relentless – every birthday and major occasion recorded in print and on film.
A schoolmate from Hobsonville School remembers them wearing identical outfits in different colours, and everyone wanting to befriend them because they were famous...
But the pressure was tough and the Lawson parents, Samuel and Ann, separated when the quins were aged six. Ann remarried a few years later - that marriage ended tragically when second husband Gary Eyton shot her then himself. Samuel Lawson died of cancer in 1997 (61).
After their mother's death, the quins struggled and had personal battles with alcohol, drugs, broken relationships and more. But they had each other and older sister Leeann, and gradually came through the hard times. Now Selina has her own hair salon, Deborah is an aromatherapist with her own range of organic essential oils, Shirlene is an early child educator, Sam has moved to Australia where he works as a natural healer in Cairns, and Lisa's a qualified chef but is running her own nail technician business.
Such is the still-existing level of national fascination with the quins that years later in 2006, when their old family home in Glendene was sold by the then owners, it still made the newspapers!
Check out this old video clip of the births that captured a nation.
[...thanx to Touchdown TV for current details of the quins]

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