The oldest person with Down’s syndrome in Britain was never expected to live beyond the age of ten but he managed to defy the odds!
Georgie Wildgust credits his love for dancing and a healthy social life with reaching his age even though doctors feared he would never experience his teenage years.
The pensioner is now one of the oldest people in the world with Down’s syndrome.
He celebrated his 77th birthday last month surrounded by his friends and family at Watcombe Circus care home.
Mr. Wildgust moved to the home in 1993 after his mother’s death and has lived there with other 12 residents.
His niece, 44-year-old Nikki Wright, visits him every week. She said: “We’re all very proud of him. It’s amazing for him to get to this age.
“My grandma was told he would not live past ten years old because of his Down’s syndrome. But they were wrong. Look at him now.
“Its probably because he has such a lovely childhood with my grandma and granddad and when he came into the home as well he really was looked after.
“He still is and they spoil him rotten. He is really happy here and is surrounded by 12 other residents who are around the same age.
“He was always told by his mum that he can do anything and because of that, he has always been very independent.
“My grandma was a dress maker and granddad worked down the pit. They lived together in Nottingham and the kids always went out to play in the middle of the square.
“Nobody picked on him, they all took him under their wing and looked after him. It was one big happy community who looked out for each other. So he’s always been very sociable.
“Back then doctors just wrote people off who had Downs Syndrome as they weren’t classed as ‘normal’. Some were sent off to asylums in padded cells I believe.
“It was awful really but Georgie has always had a strong network of family and friends around him and that’s why he’s done so well.
“He doesn’t like being told what to do really but I do think that is why he has reached 77.”
She added: “He likes going out for dinner, colouring books and especially dancing.
“It keeps him young and he loves watching Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday.
“He also enjoys going the sea-side and having fish and chips and ice cream. Every week we Skype each other and have a chat with my sister who lives in Australia.
“I think being kept busy and socialising here has really helped him. The staff are amazing and it is such a family here.”
A spokesperson for the Down’s Syndrome Association said: “Thanks to medical advances and the care and love of those around them, the average life expectancy for people with Down’s syndrome is now between 50 and 60 years, with a small number of people living into their seventies and beyond.
“Everyone at the Down’s Syndrome Association wishes Georgie a very happy birthday and all the best for the future.”
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