WHEN tiny twins Jacob and Kailer Duckworth were born six weeks early, mum Charlene Tomlinson feared the worst.
The little ones each weighed about the size of a bag of sugar and were so weak they had to battle for their lives for two weeks in a special care baby unit.
But, amazingly, the youngsters pulled through and last week celebrated their first birthday with joyous relatives.
Miss Tomlinson, 20, of Haywood Road, said she was proud of her boys for showing astonishing strength to fight illness while in hospital.
She also paid tribute to medical staff at Wigan Infirmary and the boys' father Roy Duckworth, and her family for giving her tremendous support.
"Everyone was been unbelievably brilliant with me and the babies. It has been a difficult time but the boys are perfectly fit and healthy now," said Miss Tomlinson.
She added: "We knew it would not be a normal pregnancy because I have a medication condition, so we expected a premature birth.
"The doctors kept me in hospital on and off for five months before the babies were born to try and make the pregnancy as normal as possible.
"But we knew they would be born prematurely at some point."
Then last October, Miss Tomlinson went into labour and began to fear for her unborn babies.
"My waters broke and I was trying not to push, but the babies were coming and I started to think they might not make it," said Miss Tomlinson.
She added: "I was relieved after they were born because they could breath without help, but they had to be fed with tubes. Jacob was 4lb 5oz and Bailey was 4lb 11oz.
"Both of them caught jaundice twice during their time in special care, but they were brave enough to keep eating and sleeping enough to gain up their strength.
"The hospital facilities were excellent. I was very impressed with everything they had there."
Aged two weeks old, the twins and their mum were allowed to go home.
Miss Tomlinson said: "It is amazing because they have both been really healthy since they came out of hospital. I am so proud of them.
"Their dad has been so supportive all the way through and so has my mum, Gloria."
The family marked the twins' birthday with a party at Accrington Stanley Football Club last Sunday.
More than 120 people attended and showered the tots with presents like clothes, shoes and toys.
"It was a really good night and everyone had fun and I was thrilled with the presence people gave the children."