Lots of mums were joined by their daughters at the Manchester Midnight Walk, but no family could match the amazing story of Carol Higgins, from Burnage, who was accompanied by her identical quadruplet daughters.
It was hard to tell them apart as Louisa, Elaina, Rebecca and Sophia kept mum company on the 10km walk through the city centre.
The quads, who will be 29 next month, turned the charity event, organised by St Ann’s Hospice, into an early family birthday celebration.
Carol already had sons Carl and Barry when she underwent an emergency Caesarean section at 30 weeks pregnant. The babies, conceived naturally, were born within 60 seconds, each weighing under three pounds.
Carol said: “I didn’t think they’d all survive and knew I’d get them mixed up, so for six months they kept wearing the name bracelets from hospital. I kept the same baby in the same cot.
“The girls are very supportive and protective of each other and are typical sisters. They have similar tastes in clothes and all like sport.”
Their celebrity led to an appearance on the Jay Leno chat show in Los Angeles, aged nine.
Carol added: “Like me the girls love Manchester. I was born and bred here and have never lost my roots and my dad Cecil was a police sergeant in the city centre.
“Trying to us all get together wasn’t easy and was our first time doing the Manchester Midnight Walk which brings the community together.
“We’ve lost a lot of family and friends to cancer and know from experience the care and compassion that hospices offer patients and families.”
Many of the 1,000 walkers were dressed as bees, a theme reflecting the working bee motif symbolising the city’s industrial past.
The Manchester Survivors Choir, a group set up after the Arena attack two years ago, entertained walkers before they set off from Manchester Cathedral.
The walk has raised in excess of £2m since it began 13 years ago and it is hoped to generate another £200,000 from this year’s event.
Hospice Chief Executive Eamonn O’Neal said: “What an incredible night and one that really highlighted what’s so special about people from Greater Manchester.
“Seeing everyone gathered together to raise money for local patients was amazing and as well as helping St Ann’s continue to provide our care, it was great to see that people had a fantastic night.”