Lincoln ‘leaplings’ only get to celebrate their birthdays on the right date every four years, so this Saturday is extra special.
Whether it’s a Frozen or dinosaur themed party, an 80s night, or a ‘sweet 21st’, there are plenty of celebrations happening in the city. Lincoln Castle is also offering a free day pass to those who were born on February 29, if they simply turn up and show their ID.
As well as birthdays, people in the city will also be celebrating other occasions, including Pat and Robert Scoffins who have been married for eight years (or ‘officially two’).
Meet the leaplings:
Grace Bean will have her first ‘official’ birthday this year. Although she will be turning four, her mum Helen said it is “extra special as it is the first time we can celebrate on the day”.
Helen said: “It felt really special having her on that day as it’s so unusual, but the last couple of years it hasn’t felt right celebrating her birthday on February 28 or March 1 as they aren’t the day she was born.
“It’s always a conversation starter when people realise what day her birthday falls on. This year she’s having her 1st birthday party, bouncy castles and a Frozen themed party with friends and family. We also love it how when she is 72 she will be celebrating her 18th birthday.”
The Bean family also have another child born on a special day. Helen added: “Our Valentine’s baby is called Nellie and she will be two… so the younger sister is a year older than her big sister.”
Caleb Cooke will celebrate his eighth birthday this year and would like a party at Playzone.
Caleb feels special having a birthday on February 29 as “not many people have the same birthday every four years”.
He said: “It feels a little bit different (in a leap year) as I can celebrate my birthday on the right day. I am planning my celebrations differently because I do not normally have a party.”
David Mawson is a leap year baby, who will be 84 this year.
David’s granddaughter Amber Whitwham said he’s only had 21 actually birthdays so she is throwing him a ‘sweet 21st’ – a small get together and all his favourite Waitrose food and decorating the house with 21st banners and balloons.
She said: “I think it’s pretty cool that I’m actually older than my grandad. Grandad has never really celebrated birthdays differently and as long as we take him to a pub for a hand pulled pint he’s very happy.
“He’s a huge fan of steam trains, so later on this year we have arranged for him to go on one of them in Scotland I do believe.”
Laura Oates said she plans to celebrate all weekend because “it’s a REAL birthday this year”.
She said: “For my fifth (20th) birthday I had a ‘child’s’ tea party with pink plates and again celebrated all weekend. A lot of people think it’s fake (on ID etc) and when putting my date of birth in any online form it jumps back to the 28th because it doesn’t think it’s valid.
“I start talking about my birthday probably six months before, reminding everyone it’s a real birthday. It’s a very special day, it’s exciting and different.”
Benjamin Chambers is “excitedly awaiting” February 29 this year when he is looking forward to having a few celebratory beers.
He said: “It sometimes feels a little odd only having an official birthday every four years, but to be fair, on years that don’t have the 29th I try and celebrate on the 28th February and 1st of March.
“This year we’re having a meal at Eamonn’s in Lincoln and of course a few celebratory beers despite me only being ‘nine’ this year.”
Delfina will turn 24 on Saturday and is planning to spend the day with family on her real birthday.
She said: “Usually on a non-leap year, it basically depends when the weekend falls as to when to celebrate. It’s a never ending debate with some people. As the argument goes – I was born after February 28, but I was born in February, so some people say it’s the 28th and some that it’s the 1st.
“To me, it never mattered that it was a leap year because all the most important people always remember. Some like to joke “aw, no birthday this year” and it backfires because most people do not know why we have leap years. To me, I will always be young.”
Preston Carpenter will be celebrating “his first actual birthday this year” when he turns four.
His dad Wayne said: “He was actually the first born in Lincoln hospital in the last leap year. It’s a conversation starter having his birthday on the 29th. His older brother winds him up saying his younger brother is older than him because he hasn’t had a birthday yet.
“We normally get family around for birthdays and other years we celebrate his birthday on the 28th, but this year we are having a day out.”
Another little boy celebrating his official first, and fourth, birthday is Seth Isbister.
He is celebrating by having a dinosaur themed birthday party with his friends. His mum Chloe said they will get him two cakes – one for his first birthday and one for his fourth.
She said: “We love that he is a leapling. He just made it in, being born at 11.34pm. He hasn’t quite got to grips with the idea that he is not even one yet, being nearly four is way cooler to him (not to us!).”
Paul Compton will turn 40 on Saturday “or 10, depends which way you look at it.”
He said: “It’s a bit strange only having a birthday every four years, but it will be good to spend time with friends and family and my daughter. I treat every year the same really with me celebrating on whichever day is nearer to the weekend.”
Louise is planning an open house party with all her family and close friends “to celebrate becoming a 13-year-old teenager at home”.
She said: “Over the years my children have found it amusing that they were almost always older than their mum. I believe there is a one in 1461 chance of being a leap year baby so that makes us quite special.
“It’s very exciting when it’s a leap year and the fact that it falls on a Saturday in 2020 makes it even better. I would usually celebrate my birthday on February 28, but on an actual leap year I would usually celebrate on the 28th and 29th too, and have been known to carry it on until March 1.”
Jamie Keen arrived in the world two months early to become a special leap year baby. He will be celebrating his eighth birthday this year and his second proper birthday.
His mum Emma Boekestyn said: “His due date wasn’t until April 29 so it was a surprise when he was born on this special date. We feel it makes his birthday even more special being on February 29, especially as he wasn’t due anywhere near this date. We will be celebrating with a trip to Jump Inc with some of his friends and a family party afterwards.”
Gemma Platts said she believes she was the only baby in the Grantham area born on February 29 in 1984.
She said: “I love being born on a leap year, it’s different and pretty rare. The reactions from people when they realise my date of birth are quite funny. They usually struggle to figure what a leap year is and why I celebrate on a different date. I always have my non-leap year birthday on March 1 as my mum said I wasn’t born before February 29 so I should have it then.
“When a leap year comes around I always try to do something for it, usually a party. This year myself and friends are celebrating at Woodys Bar in Ancaster for the 80s night. It’s actually on the 29th which is awesome.”
Maria is looking forward to be celebrating her 56th birthday this year, saying: “I celebrate my birthday on February 28. It’s handy if you fancy two free meals for your birthday because nobody can say which actual day is your birthday. On the years that get a 29th I just celebrate a little harder.”
Ian Bellamy will be celebrating his “13th” and 52nd birthday on Saturday, having been born on February 29, 1968.
He said: “I suppose it feels a little weird. You get the usual ‘so, how old are you then?’. We normally do something a little extra for my ‘proper’ birthday, however when you get over 50 you don’t really bother so much. I think my wife has something planned, I am not sure what yet though.”
Wedding Anniversary – Pat & Robert Scoffins
It’s not just birthdays being celebrated in Lincoln on February 29. Pat Scoffin and her husband Robert got married on February 29, 2012 at the wedding chapel on the promenade in Blackpool.
They were one of the first ones to get married there as it only opened that January. The couple will celebrate their “second wedding anniversary” this year.
Pat said: “For our first wedding anniversary my husband surprised me with a trip up Blackpool Tower and a champagne reception up there with a quarter of the viewing area cordoned off just for us.
“We have since moved back to the Lincoln area to be closer to family. I don’t think this anniversary will be as special as the last one, but we will certainly do something to remember it. Only having an anniversary every four years it has to be special.”