Happy birthday! Frances, believed to be the world’s oldest woman with Down’s Syndrome, celebrates 75th birthday in Little Downham

PUBLISHED: 16:59 29 July 2016 | UPDATED: 16:59 29 July 2016

Frances Gillett's surprise 75th birthday party at Little Downham Village Hall. Picture: Steve Williams

Frances Gillett's surprise 75th birthday party at Little Downham Village Hall. Picture: Steve Williams


She was told she would be lucky to reach 40, but Frances Gillett, who has Down’s Syndrome, has defied the odds and celebrated her 75th birthday - and is now believed to be the oldest women in the world with the condition.

Staff at Holly Cottage in Ely, where Ms Gillett lives, believe that she could be the world’s oldest woman with Down’s Syndrome and made sure she would have a birthday to remember by holding a surprise party at Little Downham Village Hall on July 27.

Frances, born on July 31 1941, was surprised by 60 of her friends, her niece and nephew and staff from Holly Cottage, who lavished her with gifts and cards.

Wayne Bent, manager of Holly Cottage, said Frances was delighted to see so many people help her celebrate her 75th.

“It was an absolutely fantastic day,” he said. “She had a wonderful time. The first person she saw when she walked through the door was the Ely Standard photographer, so he got a big hug and a kiss!

“She got quite a few presents, which she will save for opening until her actual birthday.”

Frances, who has also fought off breast cancer and tuberculosis during her incredible life, is now thought to be one of the oldest people in the world with Down’s Syndrome.

However, if she is the oldest, she will not be recognised by the Guinness World Records as they do not hold records for disabilities.

After all the excitement at her party, Mr Bent says her actual birthday will be a quieter affair.

“We’ll just have a quiet celebration at home and then everything can go back to normal,” he said.

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