Twins secure top Uni places

PUBLISHED: 13:02 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 11:28 04 May 2010

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Alex (left) and David Townsend and Sophie Piper.
 Photo: SUPPLIED

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Alex (left) and David Townsend and Sophie Piper. Photo: SUPPLIED

TWIN brothers Alex and David Townsend are to go their separate ways after winning top university places. The 18-years-olds have been offered Oxbridge places – David to read natural sciences at St Catherine s, Cambridge, and Alex to read mathematics at

TWIN brothers Alex and David Townsend are to go their separate ways after winning top university places.

The 18-years-olds have been offered Oxbridge places - David to read natural sciences at St Catherine's, Cambridge, and Alex to read mathematics at St John's College, Oxford.

The offers are conditional on their A-level results. They are both taking maths, further maths, chemistry and physics at the King's School, Ely, where they have been pupils since they were 11-years-old.

All their schooling - they were at primary school in Swaffham Prior until Year 7 - has been spent together.

"In fact we've only spent four nights not under the same roof in our entire lives," said David, "so it will be interesting to be living apart for the first time."

And as far as they both remember they've never fallen out. "I think our only argument was when we were eight and couldn't agree on which TV programme we wanted to watch," said Alex. "We just get on very well and seem to have similar likes and dislikes.

"We made our A-level subject choices entirely separately - we didn't discuss them with each other and then found we'd made exactly the same choices so we are in lessons together."

David added: "When we were younger even our parents had problems telling us apart and even now we get mistaken for each other on the telephone because our voices sound so similar."

Following their father's posting abroad with the RAF, the twins became boarders at King's. Alex is Head of their boarding house and David is Head of School. They showed leadership qualities from an early age and are both instructors with King's unique outdoor pursuits programme, The Ely Scheme.

In 2004, they earned a special mention in the school's records when they became the first twins to be installed as King's Scholars.

The scholars, who are nominated annually for academic achievement, receive the right to wear distinctive scarlet gowns - worn on special occasions in the school calendar and also qualify for other privileges during their sixth form years.

Queen's Scholar, 17-year-old Sophie Piper, has also successfully applied to Cambridge to read natural sciences at Girton College.

n The King's School Ely traces its history back over 1,000 years and was granted its first royal charter in 1541 by King Henry VIII. At the same time he established King's Scholars. In 1970, the school admitted girls for the first time, and three years later the King's Scholars were joined by Queen's Scholars (girls) at the request of Queen Elizabeth 11 when she toured the school during a visit to Ely.

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