These three really have grown from cuties into beauties - maturing into focused young adults despite tragedy on their way.
The Chapman triplets were born at 34 weeks, on July 21, almost 16 years ago - delivered by well-known Hartlepool doctor Mohamed Menabawey at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Nicholas weighed 4lb 6oz, Amy weighed 3lb 12oz, and Joshua arrived last tipping the scales at 3lb 14oz.
Their proud mum and dad Denise and Tom Chapman did their best bringing up their precious little brood, and shared and made many memories together.
But when the triplets moved from Sacred Heart Primary School to English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, aged 11, tragedy struck when their dad lost his battle with bowel cancer aged 54.
This week as the trio celebrated their school leavers prom night at Hardwick Hall, in Sedgefield, Denise said Tom, a building company contract manager, would have been looking down on them with pride.
He’s always been so determined that I think he will do it.Denise Chapman
Denise, who works as a newborn baby hearing tester, said: “It was a very poignant day. When they were dressed in all their finery I was thinking, ‘their dad should have been here’. I got a lump in my throat looking at how grown up they all looked. He would have been one proud dad.”
She added: “It’s just one of those things that you just have to get over. The kids have dealt with it absolutely amazingly. They got through it. They do have their moments and say ‘I wish my dad was here’, but they’ve been focused and they’ve done so well. They just got on with everything and have been remarkable.”
Nicholas, who gets called Nicky, is staying on at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College to study for his A-levels and wants to become a pilot and fly an A380 jumbo jet for Qantas in Australia.
“He’s always been so determined that I think he will do it,” said Denise.
Amy is also staying at English Martyrs and is planning to study drama, art and English, while Joshua – who prefers to be called Josh – is to move to Hartlepool Sixth Form College where he plans to study music.
The talented musician plays the drums like his dad, who was once in a band called Stage Fright, and would like to eventually study at a music school in London.
“I’m so proud of all three of them, I wish I could freeze time so that they wouldn’t grow up,” said Denise.