Ipswich: Eight-year-old Shayla celebrates her second birthday!

IPSWICH: It’s smiles all round today for the Harper family as they celebrate a very special birthday.

Young Shayla Harper – a pupil at Springfield Junior School – is two today – but she has been around a little longer than her age suggests.

Born on February 29, 2004 Shayla turns eight today but is enjoying only her second proper birthday with her brother Thurston and sister Koren at their home in Richmond Road, Ipswich.

Mum Donna, 32, said: “Shayla wasn’t due on February 29 but she is a little madam and it is typical of her to be born on a day like that.”

And this week is a double celebration for the family as Thurston turns one tomorrow.

Donna said: “It’s a special week for us. Shayla does understand that she only has a real birthday once every four years, we usually celebrate her birthday on February 28.”

Sharing her birthday with famous names such as former Ipswich Town footballer Darren Ambrose, Pope Paul II – born 1468, rapper Ja Rule and former Corrie actress Wendi Peters, Shalya is celebrating with a meal out tonight and a party at the weekend.

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Donna said: “She’s having a disco and a karaoke at the weekend and we’ll go out for a meal tonight. It is extra special and it only happens once every four years. Shayla loves singing and she wants to be an actress.”

Those born on February 29 may be called a “leapling” or a “leaper” and the date is associated with a number of other traditions – perhaps best known is the custom that women may propose marriage on February 29.

For Shayla today is the chance to celebrate in style.

She said: “I am really pleased to have a proper birthday this year. I’m really excited about this weekend.”

n Were you born on February 29? When do you celebrate your birthday? Let us know. E-mail starnews@archant.co.uk