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Double take: The amazing story of the strangers who look like identical twins

06 April 2015 [14:00] - TODAY.AZ

The retired Anglican clergyman spent months wondering why everyone hailed him like a long-lost friend – albeit with the wrong name.

But the mystery was solved after Neil, 69, finally asked a shopkeeper the reason. Only then did it emerge that he is the spitting image of community stalwart John Jemison, 74, who has lived in Braintree, Essex, for half a century.

Although strangers and with a five-year age difference the pair could pass as identical twins – and they also share an astonishing number of shared interests and history.

Speaking yesterday as he sat alongside his doppelganger, Neil said: “Twice a month I would have someone pass me in the street and say ‘Hello John’.

“I brushed it off at the time but then I realised that the cafe owner always referred to me as John as well.

“One day I took him to one side and said, ‘Can I have word with you please?’

"He was really worried as he thought I was going to complain about the food.

But when I explained my name wasn’t John he just wouldn’t believe me.

“I ended up having to show him my driving licence and credit card just to prove it.

"I googled ‘John Jemison’ in the meantime but couldn’t find anything until I heard someone say the name on a coach trip.”

“We hit it off immediately and it has just gone from there.”

Neil, who moved to Braintree from west London 18 months ago, joked that he and John are now thinking of a life of crime.

He said: “If one of us stays at home and the other robs a bank we will always have an alibi!” Neil only met John, who has been married to 72-year-old Jenny for 51 years, for the first time during a trip to the British Library’s Magna Carta exhibition a fortnight ago.

                   
  John with Jenny on their wedding day and spitting image Neil at wedding to Marion in 1968

And the men, both grandfathers of four, have a lot in common.

Both sing, write poetry and love amateur dramatics. In the 1960s both studied at the College of St Mark and St John, then based in Chelsea, and later worked as RE teachers.

The two men also use the same bank and live within half a mile of each other. Asked if she can tell them apart, Neil’s wife Marion, 70, said: “I certainly can. After 47 years together you don’t make that mistake.

“People have asked if Jenny and I look alike. I don’t think we do but I guess we must share a similar taste in men.”

John said: “I knew nothing about it all until Neil approached me on the coach trip to the British Library. He came up to me and said ‘Are you John Jemison?’ and I couldn’t believe it when he explained it all.”

He added: “My only worry is that a number of people probably think I’ve been ignoring them when they’ve been saying ‘Hello John’ to Neil all this time.” 

/By Express/

URL: http://www.today.az/news/interesting/139620.html

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