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Brother and sister's knees-up

PUBLISHED: 03:13 22 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:13 03 March 2010

BROTHER and sister Brian Rice and Janet Welham have a great deal in common … not least of all because of their close family links.

But they never thought they would end up in the same ward, of the same hospital, for the same operation.

BROTHER and sister Brian Rice and Janet Welham have a great deal in common … not least of all because of their close family links.

But they never thought they would end up in the same ward, of the same hospital, for the same operation.

For that is just what has happened to the pair as they continue their recovery in Ipswich Hospital today following knee replacement ops on their right legs.

It means that family visits are never far away as the pair can wave to each other across the hospital corridor on Saxmundham Ward.

Janet, 64, of Manor Farm, Tuddenham, said: "We both knew we were having the operation and I laughed and said I wonder who would go first. It just came together!

"Brian was notified about his operation first. He had a letter from the hospital saying that he had to come in to hospital on January 16.

"Three weeks later I got my date for January 14. I phoned up asking if he was definitely in on the 16th. I said: `See you up there'.

"I came in last Monday, had the operation on Tuesday and he came in on Wednesday and had his operation on Thursday."

Janet, who has osteoarthritis (chronic inflammation of the joints), has already had three hip replacements, a left knee replacement and her toe amputated, so she knew exactly what to expect.

And with her being in hospital it helped put her brother at ease.

Brian, of Headingham Close, Ipswich, also has the same complaint as his sister.

He said that it was strange that Jane and he were having the same operation in the hospital.

The 59-year-old added: "But it does help ease the worry of having your sister on the same ward."

He had a motorbike accident when he was in his 20's and broke the top part of his leg. He was in hospital for three months and an operation left him with one leg shorter than the other.

Meanwhile the pair have been the talk of the ward at the hospital in Heath Road.

"The nurses were quite surprised," said Janet, who couldn't speak highly enough of the hospital staff.

"Of course they wouldn't really know we were brother and sister unless they were told because we have different surnames.

"I am only just able to get up and walk at the moment. When Brian goes for treatment I see him and wave and shout.

"It is lovely up here. The nurses are so nice. It was funny the other day. I said to the nurse I want to walk a bit further today to meet my brother in the middle [of the corridor].

"She said what? I said didn't you know, my brother is in the same ward. I am planning to walk up there and see him."

Brian's wife Beryl, 64, said: "It is quite a coincidence. It is a relief that they are in the same ward. I try to be here as much as I can but at least I know he has family with him when I am not here."

The pair are no strangers to being in the same place at the same time.

They both also worked at Seckford Wines together. Janet from 1984 – 1995 and Brian from 1993 until last year.

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