I’ve never left home or had a romantic relationship – I’ve lived with mum for 70 years’

When Janet Cox was a teenager, her mum Joan used to urge her to go out and socialise with people her own age.

But she struggled fitting in with the kids at the local youth centre or school, instead finding happiness playing cards and games with her parents and her grandmother.

So she stayed by her mum’s side, and decades later she’s never moved out or been in a romantic relationship – and she wouldn’t change a thing.

The two women have lived together in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, for almost 70 years and have never spent more than a few weeks apart since the day Janet was born.

Janet, 67, and Joan, 87, say they are more like best friends than mother and daughter and have now moved into a retirement complex together where Janet cares for Joan, who is in the early stages of dementia.

While Joan has had a constant companion in her daughter since losing her husband Maurice in 2010 when he was 80.

Former secretarial worker Janet said: “We wouldn’t have had it any other way – we’ve always been very happy together.”

While mum Joan, who owned a family farm with her husband for nearly 30 years, said: “We’ve had a wonderful life together.

“We’d be proud to be known as Britain’s closest mother and daughter.”

Young Joan met her husband, Harold Cox, known as Maurice, aged just 14, in 1947, while out dancing in Chesterfield.

The pair married in 1953 after Maurice returned from service in the Royal Air Force, where he was stationed in Lincolnshire and Blackpool, and the newlyweds settled in Ashgate.

The couple started their family, and Janet’s older sister Anne, now aged 68, was born in 1952, followed soon after by Janet in 1953.

And when Janet was just six, the family moved to a seven-acre farm, in the village of Calow, in rural Derbyshire, where Maurice grew roses and the family kept pigs, chickens and cows.

Janet said: “We had a lot of fun growing up there, but it was also a lot of hard work – there was always something that needed doing.”

And in her teenage years, Janet, who struggled to socialise with her own age group, stayed close with her parents and enjoyed spending time with her grandmother, who lived nearby, playing cards and going on whist drives.

“I was never one for rebelling!” Janet said. “That was more my sister, Anne. I was very well-behaved.

“I was never really interested in going out much or joining in with other young people.

“I used to find them silly and preferred older people’s company.

“Mum used to worry I was missing out and would try and get me to go to youth clubs and meet people my own age.

“But my dad used to tell her to leave me alone and that I was happy as I was.”

As a teenager and young woman, Janet’s dating life was far from typical too – as she has never been in a serious relationship.

She said: “I’m quite self-sufficient and I was always happy at home and never needed anybody to do the DIY or anything for me – I could do it myself.

“I had one relationship with a man that lasted a couple of years and began when I was 18, but I wasn’t very interested in romance.

“We used to go bowling, to the cinema and meet up with friends – but when he came round the house I’d tell him ‘it’s time you went home now’.

“When I turned 21, he wanted to give me an engagement ring and I said ‘no, thank you’.

“He was sure there was someone else but there never was and we parted company not long after.”

Instead, Janet, who says she identifies as an asexual, as she does not feel she experiences sexual attraction to others, men or women, continued to live at home with Joan and Maurice.

“They say things about people being asexual these days, and I think that must have been me,” she explained.

“I’ve had a lot of male friends, but I’ve never fancied anybody. It’s not in my nature. I haven’t ever been intimate with anyone.

“It never got to that point as I had no interest.”

In her early twenties, Janet trained in clerical work, taking on an office job and later working at the Kenny Motor Group as the assistant to the factory manager.

While Joan and Maurice continued to run the farm and lived happily with their daughter at home.

The family never took a decision to continue living together – instead, Janet said it evolved over time.

She said: “It just gradually continued.

“In 1988, when I was 35, mum and dad sold the farm and we bought a three-bedroom, detached house between the three of us on a double plot in Grassmore where mum grew up.

“The idea was it would be owned by the three of us and go to the survivor.

“The solicitor wasn’t very happy about that as he thought I’d up and leave and they’d have to sell.

“But he didn’t know me as well as mum and dad did.”

Joan and Janet, who share their love of card games, crafting and jigsaw puzzles, can never agree what to watch on TV together – with Janet enjoying nature documentaries while Joan prefers soaps.

The adventurous duo have also enjoyed exotic holidays around the world together, including travelling on luxury cruise ships.

Janet said: “In the 1980s, mum started wanting to travel more, while she was still young enough.

“We started off visiting Norway – the land of the midnight sun.

“Our best trip was a few weeks in Australia and New Zealand in 1998.

“We flew out to Sydney and then sailed to Tasmania and all the islands.

“We woke up on the first day in Australia and drew the curtains and there was Sydney Opera House – we were right in the harbour.

“We also got to meet animals – we saw kangaroos and cuddled a koala.”

Other fondly remembered holidays include trips to the Canary Islands, Canada and Madeira – where they won more than $2,000 dollars on the ship’s bingo night.

Joan and Janet’s close relationship also saw them care together for Maurice for 18 months when he became unwell with bladder and bowel cancer, which spread to his bones before he died in October 2010, aged 80.