Great-great-grandmother celebrates her 25th birthday on Leap Day

Great-great grandmother Doris Cleife holds a birthday cake with candles showing the number 25 in her flat in Portsmouth as she prepares to t

A surprise party is being held for a great-great grandmother who will celebrate her 25th actual birthday on Leap Day.

Though Doris Cleife is turning 100 on February 29, this year will only be her 25th opportunity to celebrate on her day of birth.

That's because Mrs Cleife was born on Leap Day - an extra day we have every four years to make up for the fact the earth does not orbit the sun precisely in 365 days.

To celebrate the occasion, staff at Brunel Court in Portsmouth have organised a birthday bash.

Manager Katrina Morgan said: "We know that family means so much to Doris and they will all be celebrating with her at a private party on her actual birthday on Saturday but the residents here wanted to throw a surprise tea party as well.

"We are delighted that we are able to share such a special moment with her and her friends here."

The celebrations will continue for Mrs Cleife, who will have another party with her family afterwards.

Doris said 'I don’t feel any different' about only having had 25 birthdays. Credit: Family handout / PA

Mrs Cleife told the PA news agency: "I never dreamed I would get this far, I lost my mother when she was quite young and my granny died when she was 47 but here we are, and I have a sister who is 98."

When asked how it feels to only have had 25 birthdays, she said: "I don’t feel any different.

She added: "I’ve waited all my life to be famous and now it happens like this.

"I wouldn’t want all the fuss but the family have been talking about it for goodness how long, and I had a letter from one of my great grandchildren who was seven, he said at the end of the letter ‘Does the Queen know your address?’."

The 100-year-old added that she is "still waiting for her letter from the Queen.

"To be honest, I am feeling quite philosophical about becoming 100, but I am looking forward to spending time with my new friends and my family."

Doris Cleife worked as a hairdresser for 20 years. Credit: Family handout/PA

Mrs Cleife, who was a hairdresser for 20 years, said the secret to her longevity was eating well and walking whenever she could.

She said: "I have always worked hard, but I did a lot of walking, and I think walking is good for you, it keeps you fit, well at least it did me."

The 100-year-old said her favourite food to celebrate her birthday would be biscuits and pate.

The 100-year-old said her favourite food to celebrate her birthday would be biscuits and pate. Credit: Family handout/PA

Doris' granddaughter Rachel Bowen said: "We are so proud of nan and she is thrilled to be celebrating such a significant milestone with her friends and family.

"Nan puts her long life down to living with my mum for so long and being surrounded by grandchildren, great-grandchildren and now great-great grandchildren.

She added: "She loves playing with the kids, they keep her young at heart, and only recently she’s built amazing shops out of cardboard boxes with the little ones."

Mrs Cleife has two grandchildren, Rachel and David; three great grandchildren, Kirsty, Sammy and Isla; and two great-great grandchildren, Tilly and Thea.