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.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cambs Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cambs Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cambs Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 17:28

As I come to the end of my year as mayor, I have been asked to help establish whether or not there is any truth in the story that one of Ernest Shepard’s illustrations for the Wind in the Willows has links with Ely’s historic courthouse.

Yesterday, 13:28

Britain keeps its promises, particularly to those most in need. For 10 years, our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our national income on aid has been testament to that, and featured in all the major political party manifestos running up to the last general election.

Yesterday, 10:28

Yet another election! This time of a local nature to appoint the “£770 million mayor” (Ely Standard April 20).

Yesterday, 07:28

Gaul Road junction with the A141 March bypass has a bad reputation for accidents...but, there is nothing wrong with the junction if used correctly.

Most read stories


Show Job Lists


Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Cambs Times e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter