Sid Valley ‘Leaplings’ celebrate their unique birthday

Saffron Roberts enjoying her sixth birthday party.

Saffron Roberts enjoying her sixth birthday party. - Credit: Archant

Leap year babies in the Sid Valley have enjoyed their last ‘official’ birthday until 2020.

Aaron Howe celebrated his seventh birthday on Monday.

Aaron Howe celebrated his seventh birthday on Monday. - Credit: Archant

Monday, February 29, was special for more than four million people across the world, including Melizza Long and Aaron Howe, both 28, who celebrated only their ‘seventh’ proper birthdays.

Melizza and Aaron also share another special connection, as they were both born in Exeter’s Heavitree hospital on February 29, 1988.

The ‘leaplings’, which is a term given to people born in a leap year, usually celebrate their special day on February 28 or March 1.

Aaron, of Orchard Close, Sidford, said: “It was annoying at times, as I had to wait four years and my mum and dad were adamant I couldn’t have presents until the 29th - and when it wasn’t the 29th, it didn’t really feel like a birthday.

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“They [people] never believe me, but when they see my ID they are in shock.

“It genuinely feels like a big deal when it comes around. I constantly have the mick taken for being so young.”

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Melizza, of Chambers Close, added: “I don’t think I really understood it until I got older. When I was a child I used to get my birthday on the 28th.”

The chances of being born in a leap year is one in 1,461, yet both Melizza and Aaron share their birthday with another member of their family.

Melizza shared her birthday with her great-uncle Clifford, who died last year at the age of 92. Aaron’s cousin Graham was born on February 29 in 1984.

Another ‘leapling’, Saffron Roberts, 24, who was born in 1992, said one of the perks of being born in a leap year was confusing people.

She said: “I celebrated with a party at the weekend in true six-year-old style, with jelly and ice cream, pass the parcel and the Spice Girls, of course.

“When somebody asks how old I am and I reply ‘five and three-quarters’. They look at me blankly, as if I’m joking.

“The odd few realise why, but the majority of people just look at me strangely until I prompt them with ‘I’m born on a leap year’ - and then they look slightly less confused and start with the array of questions.”

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