Life

By James Somper

 

A 78-year-old pensioner has become the oldest living person in the UK with Down syndrome.

Robin Smith celebrated his birthday today (Wednesday October 9) with cake and bingo at the residential home he has lived in for over 30 years.

When the bingo mad pensioner from Kettering, Northamptonshire, was born in 1941 the life expectancy for people with Down’s was just 12-years-old.

But as Robin celebrates his 78th year he said he feels privileged to have enjoyed a long and happy life.

He said: “I’m very happy that’s it my birthday today.

“It’s important to have an active lifestyle and keep as busy as possible. I like to do a bit of dancing whenever I can.

“I love to clean and tidy my room.

“I love watching the horse racing, my lucky number is 11.”

Robin has lived at Northleigh residential home since 1986 and has spent much of his life living in home’s across the midlands.

Staff believe that Robin is the oldest living person in the UK with Down’s syndrome after George Widhurst from Nottingham turned 77 in September.

The yoga loving pensioner spends his time dancing and doing yoga and attends a day centre for adults with Down’s at least three times a week.

Lauren Fulcher, a carer at Northleigh said: “He’s a loving, caring gentlemen. he’s ever so calm and would do anything for anyone, he’s very much part of the furniture here.

“I’ve been here for 13 years and he’s like a Granddad to all of my colleagues.

“We’ve all grown up with him over the years.”

Robin keeps busy by going to his local church three times a week and helps out doing odd job’s around Northleigh.

He also enjoys yoga, dancing and aerobics.

His cousin Janet Whitton, 75, said Robin has always been obsessed with horse racing and that she still takes him for A day at the races.

She said: “He’s a happy go lucky sort of chap. He’s had a great life.

“He likes horse racing. He loves the thrill and spectacle of it.

“He’s built a life for himself over the years.

“He enjoys going out and about and even goes on caravan holidays.

“Everyone at Northleigh has done such a good job for Robin over the years.”

Michaela Kennerley, the registered manager of Northleigh said that Robin is something of an icon at the home.

She said: “He’s got loads of friends, he’s very very popular.

“He’s popular with everybody who meets him. We all love him and it’s difficult to describe how much passion the staff have for him.

“He’s got an amazing character, he’s an amazing man.

“He gets on well with everybody, he likes to keep active and as mobile as he can.

“As soon as any of the staff walk in he’ll ask how everyone is and ask how everyone’s day is.

“Seeing Robin just brighten’s your day.”