Great-great grandmother ready to celebrate her '25th birthday'

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Great-great grandmother ready to celebrate her '25th birthday'

Celebrations are in order as a 25th birthday party for a great-great grandmother is due to take place this weekend.

Doris Cleife is actually turning 100 but the soon-to-be-centenarian has her birthday on February 29, meaning she only gets it once every four years.

Great-great grandmother Doris Cleife holds a birthday cake with candles showing the number 25. (PA Images)

Staff at her Brunel Court care home in Portsmouth – run by provider Housing 21 – will throw the bash for Doris with local dignitaries, friends and residents all invited.

Manager Katrina Morgan said: “We know that family means so much to Doris and they will all be celebrating with her at a private party on her actual birthday on Saturday but the residents here wanted to throw a surprise tea party as well.

Great-great grandmother Doris Cleife reads birthday cards in her flat. (PA Images)

“We are delighted that we are able to share such a special moment with her and her friends here.”

Doris, a retired hairdresser, took a relaxed view to hitting 100 – and would be keen to celebrate her birthday with her favourite food, biscuits and pate.

“I just take it as it comes, I can’t do much about it,” she told PA news agency.

“I honestly don’t know, I think to myself, I never dreamed I would get this far, I lost my mother when she was quite young and my granny died when she was 47 but here we are, and I have a sister who is 98.

“I don’t feel any different.

“I’ve waited all my life to be famous and now it happens like this.”

She added: “I am waiting for my letter from the Queen.

A family photo of Doris in her younger years. (PA Images)
Doris Cleife is preparing to celebrate her "25th birthday". (PA Images)

“To be honest, I am feeling quite philosophical about becoming 100, but I am looking forward to spending time with my new friends and my family.”

Doris’s husband Sam died in 1979 and she moved into independent accommodation run by not-for-profit Housing 21 last year, having lived with her son-in-law and daughter for 40 years. She moved out after her daughter died in May.

She put her longevity down to working hard and walking, especially along the seafront.

She has two grandchildren, Rachel and David, and three great-grandchildren, Kirsty, Sammy and Isla.

Doris’ granddaughter Rachel Bowen said: “We are so proud of nan and she is thrilled to be celebrating such a significant milestone with her friends and family.

“Last year was very hard but we want to celebrate this amazing day and an amazing woman.

“She has been pulling our legs for months now saying she can’t wait until her 25th birthday.”

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