TRIPLETS Benjamin, Bryan and Richard Wood are preparing to celebrate the 18th birthday their parents feared they might never share.

The brothers, from Southwick, were born a month early at Southlands Hospital, Shoreham, on August 28, 1980.

Benjamin, who weighed in at only 2lb, fought for his life on an incubator for several days. Bryan, at 5lb, was also on an incubator for a time, and Richard was the heaviest at 5lb 5oz.

Mum Margaret, a housekeeper and needlewoman at Brighton's Grand Hotel, said: "There was a very strong chance we could have lost Benjamin because he was so small, like a bag of sugar."

But all the triplets pulled through and two are celebrating success in their A-levels at Hove Park Sixth Form.

Benjamin achieved an A grade in art, a B in technology and a C in German, while Bryan got Bs in art and German. They will be going on to foundation arts courses in Brighton and Worthing, then possibly to university.

Richard is studying for an advanced GNVQ in catering and hospitality at Brighton College of Technology, Pelham Street, and will take his final exams next year.

The catering line continues a family tradition. The boys' late grandfather, Henry, was a chef at what is now the Berlin Bar, Ship Street, Brighton, and their uncle Alan was a chef at the Dudley Hotel, Lansdowne Place, Hove.

Benjamin, who plays cricket for Southwick Wanderers, was hoping to spend some of his birthday with Bryan watching Sussex play Hampshire at Hove. Both are county members.

Margaret and husband Robin have three other children - Daniel, 21, and Simon, 26, both of Southwick, and Bristol-based Stephen, 23.

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