FEW births make front page news, but when Emma, Kirsty and Kay Clark were born at York Hospital 30 years ago their story hit the headlines.

'York family's hat-trick' read the headline on the front of our Yorkshire Evening Press.

The photo showed a man and a woman with a blonde toddler cuddling three tiny babies wrapped in white blankets.

The babies were Emma, Kirsty and Kay Clark - and parents Sandy and Audrey say they were the first triplets born at York Hospital.

Audrey said: "It was unchartered territory for my consultant Miss Mattock and my midwife. It was unknown - they had never dealt with triplets. Even my health visitor had never dealt with triplets."

York Press: Clark triplets make the front page of The Yorkshire Evening Press, now The PressClark triplets make the front page of The Yorkshire Evening Press, now The Press (Image: Supplied)

The family, who live off Fulford Road, got in touch with The Press following our recent story about another set of triplets born in York.

Jenni Casper gave birth to identical baby girls, Harper-Gwen, Marvella and Evalynn in March. She and husband James already have two daughters Danica, 10 and Gabriella, four - and are looking for a bigger house.

The odds of having identical triplets are said to range up to one in 200 million.


Read our full interview here: 'We bought a mini-bus!' Meet the Clark triplets born in York 30 years ago


Audrey and Sandy's trio underwent a series of tests as children. Sandy said: "They are identical, yes. We got the tests done by TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association) and they were more or less identical with their heights and so on."

Scots-born Audrey - who already had a two-year-old daughter Lucie - only discovered she was expecting triplets at a scan following a bleed. Medics thought she was having an ectopic pregnancy, but in fact she was pregnant with triplets.

Audrey recalled her response: "The nurse said: 'do you want to tell your husband or shall !?' I said: 'You tell him - I'm in too much shock'."

The babies were delivered by caesarean section and stayed in York hospital for four days - spending only one day in special care.

Emma arrived first, weighing 5lbs 1oz, Kirsty was next, at 4lbs 13oz, then Kay at 4lbs 11oz.

They were bottle fed - and Sandy recalls spending £200 in one go buying nappies and formula milk for the triplets.

Manoeuvring them around was a challenge. "We bought a mini bus!" said Sandy. "We needed it to cart everyone around."

The couple couldn't find a triple buggy, so Sandy made one.

Following advice, they brought the triplets up as individuals.

Audrey said: "They might be babies born on the same day, but they are individuals."

To this end, the girls never wore the same clothes, had different hair styles - and even separate birthday cakes.

York Press: The triplets were treated as individuals and had their own hairstyles and birthday cakesThe triplets were treated as individuals and had their own hairstyles and birthday cakes (Image: Supplied)

As they approach their 30th birthday, the Clark triplets remain very much individuals. They all have their own distinctive look and are forging ahead with different careers.

It's a lifetime away from when they first left York hospital 30 years ago and Audrey and Sandy feared they'd mix them up.

How did they tell them apart? Sandy said: "We kept on their hospital name tags and got baby bouncers in different colours!"

Triplets fact file

Twins occur in about one in 250 pregnancies, triplets in about one in 10,000 pregnancies, and quadruplets in about one in 700,000 pregnancies. The odds of having identical triplets are stated to be up to one in 200 million.

For identical triplets, the fertilised egg may split just once into three or it may split twice (where the egg splits first in two and then one of the two splits again), resulting in three embryos with the same general DNA characteristics.

If  babies share a placenta, it usually means they are identical. If they don’t share a placenta, they may be identical or not. The most accurate way to tell if twins or triplets are identical is through a DNA test. This can only be done after birth.