Birthday tributes for inspirational Sunderland woman Rebecca Hills

One of the world’s oldest Down’s syndrome sufferers has just celebrated her 77th birthday.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 9:58 am

Rebecca Hills has been a much loved resident at the Springfield House care home in Philadelphia since 2009.

She had a wonderful time on her big day. Singer Greg Ross gave a performance at the home. He sang Can’t Help Falling in Love to her and led the staff and other residents as they all sang Happy Birthday.

The average life expectancy for a person in the UK with Down’s syndrome is 60-65 years. But Rebecca is made of sterner stuff.

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Rebecca Hills on her 77th birthday with singer Greg Ross.

Like everyone else, Rebecca has her own personality, likes, dislikes and things that make her who she is. She enjoys singalongs, crafts, outings – especially to the theatre or seaside – and tea dances at the Washington Arts Centre.

She also enjoys shopping and has a fondness for trinkets and sparkly jewellery. She used to enjoy colouring in and knitting and still loves having her nails painted. Staff say she also “loves a hug”.

After Rebecca’ parents died, she went to live with her sister, Regina, who has also now passed away. She came to Springfield House a decade ago for respite – and decided she wanted to stay permanently.

The care home is rated Good by the Care Quality Commission.

Rebecca Hills on her 77th birthday with Springfield House staff, from left to right Stephen Hair, Glenda Hall, Mary Hyland, Elaine Scott and Anne Wiltshire.

Mary Hyland, Springfield House’s activities coordinator, said: “Rebecca is just a lovely, lovely lady. She’s loved by all the staff and the other residents. We’re all very proud of her.”

Rebecca Hills, seen here on her 77th birthday, is one of the oldest Down's syndrome sufferers in the world.