When a lady in her 70s coquettishly tells you she can still high-kick and put on a show, you know you have to take her seriously.

And Teddie Beverley, one of the Beverley Sisters a trio of harmony singers with blonde curls, long legs and perfect pitch clearly means what she says.

"We are just cockney kids from the East End and never had a music lesson but have never hit a wrong chord. We just have a natural gift, and we have been clapped and cheered all over the world. So now we are growing up and never growing old and are still singing for people and they are clapping us and love us still," she says.

The three sisters, who own a number of houses around East Barnet and now consider themselves 'north London girls', had their heyday as the most successful and highest-paid female singing act in Britain during the Fifties and Sixties.

After being discovered in 1944 by the biggest musical name of the time Glenn Miller they shot to stardom with songs such as Irving Berlin's Sisters, which he wrote for them, and I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. A successful TV career followed, although they were sometimes banned because of their provocative lyrics and outfits. To cap it all, they are now in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running pop act ever. They continue performing and have just returned from a theatre festival in Weston-super-Mare, where they received standing ovations everywhere'. They also put on a show this week when they open a retirement home in East Finchley.

You would imagine this is a bit of a comedown for the sisters, who toured with the Everley Brothers and Elvis Presley, whose career they say they helped launch. But anything less than complete success is not part of the act, which by now has become second nature.

"We love our audiences, wherever they are," says Teddie. "Our audiences are in retirement homes, these are the people who love and know us. If you ask any man of that age, they will say they were all in love with us!"

Babette, or Babs, is the twin sister of Teddie who was named after a boxer because she was born 'black and blue with Babs's foot in my face, so I had a squashed nose'. Their elder sister is Joy, born Joyce. But really, it is hard to tell them apart and this closeness is something they market. It was always part of the act and the act is something they are not about to let go.

The words tumble out in a rush of childlike excitement and enthusiasm which the last 60 years have not been able to dim.

Teddie says: "We get to dress up in pretty dresses and travel all over the world. Who could be luckier? Are there any luckier, happier girls than us?"

The non-stop promotion patter does not stop there, though. Teddie says: "If we had been men, we would have been as big as the Rolling Stones, but because we are women, we had children and had to stay at home. That's the way it goes. But we have no regrets. Nobody could have had a better career."

The biggest thing about them, which comes across straight away, is that they are a unit. A three-for-the-price-of-one type of outfit. Obviously this is their strength, their act, what sets them apart, but it is also quite startling. Speaking to one is like speaking to all three at once.

"The twins have lovely hair," says Teddie, obviously referring to herself and her sister, Babs. "But Joy just has a beautiful mane, all naturally blonde and gorgeous."

If you enquire why she refers to herself in the third person, she says dismissively: "We are sisters, we are family and we are close."

It was the sisters' family closeness which started them off singing, when the three sisters were 'three poor little scruffy evacuees' in the Midlands during the Second World War.

Teddie says: "We were just singing school hymns because we had nothing else to do and we are able to harmonise naturally, we always have. Joy sings the tune, and the twins sing the other parts, Babs the top line and I sing the lower line. When the twins were 11 we tossed a ha'penny and I lost so I sing the low harmony, the most unpleasant line. How was I to know I would be singing it 60 years later?"

The story goes that they were taken to underground BBC studios to sing for an Ovaltine advert when Glenn Miller walked through the door and told them they were going to be stars.

He was there in secret, recording songs for the war effort, and just happened to hear the girls singing. After the war, their careers really took off and they were catapulted to the top.

Joy's marriage to Billy Wright, who earned 105 England caps, 90 as captain, added to the girls' appeal. That he fell in love with her after seeing her perform at the London Palladium reinforces the image of the couple as the Posh and Becks of their time.

"I feel sorry for Posh," Teddie says. "Her work does not come first. Husbands need to help you and push you, but his life always seems to come first. It's not fair, how will she even try her career next to him? She will be considered a second-class citizen. But then, I suppose, she's not exactly a loveable person, so I feel sorry the world is against her and that people dislike her. You see, we were loved. We gave up our careers to have children, but should women have to?"

In a rare burst of feminist feeling forcing its way through the girlish chat, Teddie conspiratorially shares that women are also subject to sexism within the career.

"We are just there to make men feel good," she says. "That's all men are looking for. So women spend time writhing about on a bed with barely any clothes on and they have to do it for the market. The girls should just be allowed to sing."

Like a confusing female version of the three musketeers, the Beverley Sisters have made all for one and one for all' their rallying cry. Despite the fact that their chosen weapon is to act like giggling girls, they clearly know what they are doing and continue to be a formidable force.