World’s oldest woman with Down’s syndrome celebrates 75th birthday

A pensioner from Cambridgeshire is reported to be the world’s oldest woman with Down’s syndrome, at a remarkable 75 years old.

Having already battled breast cancer and tuberculosis in the past 12 years, Frances Gillett continues to defy the odds after celebrating her 75th birthday with family and friends.

Ms Gillett was born in 1941, when the life expectancy for someone with Down’s syndrome was still in the mid-20s.

“Frances is really and truly amazing and over the years she has become more than a resident, she is like family”, said Wayne Bent, who owns the care home where Ms Gillett now lives.

“Years ago there was zero expectancy for someone with Down’s syndrome to live such a long life, so for her to celebrate her 75th birthday is wonderful.

“She used to love needlework, although her eyes are not so good now, and she loves music.”

With the oldest man with the condition having celebrated his 80th birthday in March, the average life expectancy for someone living with Down’s syndrome is rapidly increasing.

“Thanks to medical advances and the care and love of those around them, the average life expectancy for people with Down’s syndrome is between 50 and 60 years, with a small number of people living into their seventies and beyond”, said a spokesperson for the Down’s Syndrome Association.

They added: “Everyone at the Down’s Syndrome Association wishes Frances a very happy birthday.’”