OFF TO PASTURES NEW: Barnard Castle School twins India, left, and Amelia Oates
OFF TO PASTURES NEW: Barnard Castle School twins India, left, and Amelia Oates

TOP performing twins are going their separate ways for the first time in their lives to pursue diverse passions.

India and Amelia Oates are leaving for university soon after spending the bulk of their lives together at Barnard Castle School. For the 19-year-olds it marks the end of a family association with the school dating back decades as their dad, John, also once worked at the school

“We have been together since reception – which is all of our lives that we can remember – it’s all we have ever known,” said India, an international para-sprinter.

Amelia, who is the eldest by two minutes, added: “We get on really well and even have the same friends. But you do tend to be referred to as ‘the twins’ so it will be nice to go to different universities and develop as separate people, though we will miss each other.”

The twins were born prematurely in 2002 at just 31 weeks, India with cerebral palsy. Both have thrived at Barnard Castle School with India taking up athletics at Prep School. She has just finished the two year British Athletics Futures Programme. Having achieved an A* and two As at sixth form she has secured a place to study a degree in sociology at Loughborough University, where she will develop her 100m running talents by training alongside successful para-athletes. Coached by Andy Woodward and Helen Bowles, before the pandemic India was ranked second best in the country and eighth in the world in her discipline and she is working towards being selected for Team GB at the Paris Paralympics in three years.

“I have been completely inspired by the success of Team GB in Tokyo,” said India.

Amelia’s ambitions lie in television, writing or publishing and after securing four A*s in her A Levels will now study a degree in liberal arts in Leeds. She has been writing a regular column in the Teesdale Mercury called the Quaranteens