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Britain's oldest person with Down syndrome dies aged 78


Georgie Wildgust, 78, is the UK's oldest person with Down syndrome

A retiree has become Britain's oldest person with Down syndrome after turning 78 – despite doctors saying he wouldn't be more than 10 years old.

The lively Georgie Wildgust attributes his longevity to a love for dancing and an active social life surrounded by a strong network of family and friends.

Strictly Come Dancing fan Mr. Wildgust is now considered one of the oldest people in the world with Down syndrome and the oldest in the country.

He celebrated the milestone in August with a socially distant birthday party in the gardens of the Watcombe Circus nursing home in Carrington, Nottingham.

A vocal group led by Mr. Wildgust entertained family and friends before enjoying a buffet of food and cake.

After the death of his mother in 1993, Mr. Wildgust moved into the specialist home and has lived there with 12 other residents since then.

He has resisted the chances of reaching the ripe old age of 78 after medical professionals feared he would never see his teenage years.

Nikki Wright, 44-year-old niece from East Leake, Nottinghamshire, who visits him every week, said: “It is great that he is now officially the oldest person in the country with Down syndrome.

“It's quite an accomplishment and we're all very proud of him.

Mr Wildgust (center) as a child with his brother Colin (left) and his sister Jean (right)

Mr Wildgust (center) as a child with his brother Colin (left) and his sister Jean (right)

“We were able to visit him on his birthday and had a nice day with a buffet, cake and a singing group.

Georgie stood in front and directed them. I think he really enjoyed it and it was nice to be able to celebrate with him and the other residents.

“It's amazing for him to reach that age. My grandma was told he would not be more than ten years old because of his Downs Syndrome. But they were wrong. Look at him now.

“It's probably because he had such a lovely childhood with my grandma and grandpa and when he came into the house he was really looked after.

& # 39; He's still lazy and they spoil him. He is really happy here and is surrounded by 12 other residents who are about the same age.

“His mother always told him that he could do anything and that was why he was always very independent.

“My grandma was a seamstress and grandpa worked down the pit. They lived together in Nottingham and the children always went out to play in the middle of the square.

Sprightly Mr Wildgust attributes its longevity to a love of dancing and an active social life surrounded by a strong network of family and friends

Sprightly Mr Wildgust attributes its longevity to a love of dancing and an active social life surrounded by a strong network of family and friends

Strictly Come Dancing fan Mr. Wildgust (pictured far right as a child with his family) is now considered one of the oldest people in the world with Down syndrome and the oldest in the country

Strictly Come Dancing fan Mr. Wildgust (pictured far right as a child with his family) is now considered one of the oldest people in the world with Down syndrome and the oldest in the country

& # 39; Nobody chose him, everyone took him under their wing and looked after him. It was a big, happy community taking care of each other. He was always very sociable.

“Back then, doctors only wrote off people with Downs Syndrome because they weren't classified as 'normal'. I believe some were put into asylums in padded cells.

“It was really horrible, but Georgie always had a strong network of family and friends around and that's why he did so well.

"He doesn't like being told what to really do, but I think that's why he got 78."

Mr. Wildgust was one of three children and was born on August 16, 1942 to parents Hilda and Abraham at the home in Cinderhill, Nottingham.

Mr. Wildgust (pictured with his brother and sister) was one of three children and was born on August 16, 1942 at home in the Cinderhill area of ​​Nottingham to parents Hilda and Abraham

Mr. Wildgust (pictured with his brother and sister) was one of three children and was born on August 16, 1942 at home in the Cinderhill area of ​​Nottingham to parents Hilda and Abraham

Mr. Wildgust (pictured with his niece Nikki) worked as a gardener and carpet maker before retiring and now spends his days in the nursing home enjoying his favorite pastimes.

Mr. Wildgust (pictured with his niece Nikki) worked as a gardener and carpet maker before retiring and now spends his days in the nursing home enjoying his favorite pastimes.

His younger brother Colin, 71, died three years ago, but younger sister, Jean Yessyan, 79, stays in touch with him via Skype in Australia.

Before his retirement, Mr Wildgust worked as a gardener and carpet maker and now spends his days in the nursing home enjoying his favorite pastimes.

Nikki, a postal worker, added, “He enjoys going out to dinner, painting books, and especially dancing.

“It keeps him young and he loves to watch Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday.

“He also likes to go to the sea and eat fish and chips and ice cream.

People with Downs Syndrome are expected to live through their 50s nowadays, but life expectancy was much lower in the 1940s. Pictured: Pictured: Mr Wildgust (left) as a child with his brother Colin

People with Downs Syndrome are expected to live through their 50s nowadays, but life expectancy was much lower in the 1940s. Pictured: Pictured: Mr Wildgust (left) as a child with his brother Colin

“Of course we couldn't do that during the pandemic, but the nursing home staff were brilliant and kept them all entertained.

“We Skype each other every week and talk to my sister who lives in Australia.

“I think it really helped him to be busy and socialize here. The staff is amazing and it's such a family here. & # 39;

Mr Wildgust is the oldest person in Britain with Down syndrome following the death of Robin Smith of Kettering, Northamptonshire, who died last month at the age of 78.

People with Downs Syndrome are expected to live through their 50s nowadays, but life expectancy was much lower in the 1940s.

A spokesman for the Down's Syndrome Association said: "Thanks to medical advances and the care and love of those around them, the average life expectancy of people with Down syndrome is now between 50 and 60 years, with a small number of people is more than 70 years old.

"All members of the Down's Syndrome Association wish Georgie a happy birthday and all the best for the future."

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