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The UK’s oldest person with Down’s syndrome has died, just days before his 79th birthday

Marie Claire Dorking
·2-min read
Robin Smith, the oldest man with Down's Syndrome has tragically died, pictured here in October 2019. (SWNS)
Robin Smith, the UK's oldest man with Down's Syndrome has died, pictured here in October 2019. (SWNS)

The UK’s oldest person with Down’s syndrome has died, just days before celebrating his 79th birthday.

Robin Smith set a new record when he celebrated turning 78 on 9 October 2019.

Despite being given a life expectancy of just 12 when he was born in 1941, Smith defied the odds to live into his eighth decade.

Smith died on 27 September at Northleigh residential home where he had lived since 1986.

Staff say tributes have been flooding in to the care home, since the announcement of his death on Thursday 8 October.

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“Robin was the legend of Northleigh,” support worker Billy Fulcher said. “I was so happy to work with such a caring and special individual.

“Robin was more than a resident to me, he became part of my family. He touched everyone’s heart in that way.”

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Fulcher says he takes “great pleasure” in knowing he was part of Smith’s life.

“He had such a beautiful soul and he had a laugh I will never forget,” said Fulcher.

“He lit up a room with his twinkly eyes and cheeky smile and no one that met him could resist adoring him.”

Smith grew up in St Margaret's Avenue in Rushden, Northants, with his parents Ivy and Sid, and two older siblings, Elizabeth and Iain.

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Robin Smith celebrating his 78th Birthday last October. (SWNS)
Robin Smith celebrating his 78th Birthday last October. (SWNS)

Smith’s brother Iain said: “Robin spent 34 years at Northleigh and this was where he was happiest, with the amazing staff and residents.

“To all the staff I would like to say a massive thank you for their kindness and amazing care and Robin clearly adored them all.”

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Speaking on his birthday, last year, Smith said: “It’s important to have an active lifestyle and keep as busy as possible.

“I like to do a bit of dancing whenever I can.”

Staff who cared for Smith said he loved a cuddle, karaoke, doing the hoovering, watching his favourite soaps and eating cheesecake and Weetabix.

Smith became the UK's oldest living person with Down’s syndrome after Kenny Cridge, who previously held the record, died aged 79 last April.

Today, 9 October, on what would have been Smith’s birthday, Northleigh will throw a “night to remember” party to celebrate his life.

Staff plan to serve his favourite cake and snacks and share their favourite memories of Robin.

Additional reporting SWNS.

Watch: TikTok star tackles Down’s Syndrome stereotypes

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