Big birthday a family thing

TRIMLEY woman Jean Cook today has the unusual distinction of being the same age as her grand-daughter and great-grandson – 21.For Mrs Cook has finally had her coming of age as she celebrates her special birthday – more than 60 years after her schoolfriends did.

TRIMLEY woman Jean Cook today has the unusual distinction of being the same age as her grand-daughter and great-grandson - 21.

For Mrs Cook has finally had her coming of age as she celebrates her special birthday - more than 60 years after her schoolfriends did.

Because Mrs Cook doesn't get as many birthdays as most people . . . as she was born in a Leap Year.

She celebrated her birthday for only the 21st time in her 84 years, and marked it with her granddaughter Lucinda Cook, who was 21 in December, and great-grandson Ben Kidd-Stanton, who was 21 early last month.


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With February 29 only coming round once in every four years, Mrs Cook, of New Road, Trimley St Mary, likes to party on her big day.

"When I was child I used to celebrate from February 28 to March 1 as no-one really knew which day I should have as my birthday," she said.

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"Then in a Leap Year my mother would give me a really lovely, special party. My mother really liked parties but my sister didn't, so every four years we really went to town.

"I think having a birthday every four years keeps me young because I keep thinking I am not that old - and I do like all the young music and other things."

Already she has had a number of birthday cards marking her "21st birthday" arrive and she is looking forward to a family tea party tomorrow.

"It is strange to think that Lucinda and Ben are both the same age as me - that they have also only had 21 birthdays," added Mrs Cook.

"People ask how that is possible. I had my daughter in 1943, she married when she was 19 and had a daughter who had my great-grandson when she was 21 and now he is 21, too.

"My son got married in 1972 and Lucinda was also born in 1983."

Her son David Cook, of Felixstowe, said: " We do like to make a fuss of mum when February 29 arrives as she doesn't get many real birthdays - and she loves a party. She was a bit worried earlier this week because she thought we weren't doing anything. We wanted it to be a surprise but we had to tell her!"

Factfile: Leap year facts and firsts:

n 1288: Leap Day was named as the only day a woman legally could propose to a man.

n 1504: Columbus used the prediction of a lunar eclipse on Leap Day to scare hostile natives on the island of Jamaica.

n 1860: The first electric tabulating machine invented by Herman Hollerith.

n 1904: A seven-man commission was created to build the Panama Canal.

n 1952: First "Walk" and "Don't Walk" pedestrian crossings appeared in New York.

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