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Giant LEAP to a special birthday

PUBLISHED: 14:38 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:32 23 August 2010

Gravesend
03-03-08
Copperfields Care Home, Higham
100 year old Hilda Cole

Gravesend 03-03-08 Copperfields Care Home, Higham 100 year old Hilda Cole

DESPITE being born in 1908, a woman has been celebrating her 25th birthday with a party and a card from the Queen. Hilda Cole, who lives at Copperfield Residential Home, Higham, was visited by 50 friends last Friday, on a date that occurs once every four

DESPITE being born in 1908, a woman has been celebrating her 25th birthday with a party and a card from the Queen.

Hilda Cole, who lives at Copperfield Residential Home, Higham, was visited by 50 friends last Friday, on a date that occurs once every four years.

As she was born on a leap year, the centenarian has had to celebrate her birthday on either February 28 or March 1 most years.

Now officially 100 years old, she was given a card from the Queen and the Mayor of Gravesham, Pat Oakeshott, and Adam Holloway, MP for Gravesham, also presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

Her lifelong friend, Janet Bishop, 70, of Northridge Road, Gravesend said: "It was a lovely celebration for her. She has been looking forward to her leap year birthday celebrations for a long time, we keep joking with Hilda that this was only her 25th birthday!

"She has so many friends. Everybody loves her. She is still a very practical lady and has had many interests and hobbies like the Gravesend Choral Society, gardening and tapestry work.

"Unfortunately she now has very poor eyesight but she is still very switched on and she chats away quite happily."

Hilda was brought up in Northfleet and attended Dover Road School and then Gravesend County School, which is now Gravesend Grammar School for Girls.

She worked as a telephonist at Gravesend General Post Office and married her husband Harold in 1930.

In 1952, the couple left Northfleet and moved into a bungalow in Norah Lane, Higham, which they designed and built themselves. Her husband died in 1958 and they had no children. She moved into Copperfield residential home in 2003.

Hilda's mother also reached 100 years old in 1977 - the Queen's Silver Jubilee Year.

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