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Miracle baby Irene turns 100-years-old




Irene Miller celebrated her 100th Birthday on Sunday.
Irene Miller celebrated her 100th Birthday on Sunday.

A remarkable woman who was given just months to live as a baby, celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday, surrounded by generations of her family.

Irene Miller was born in 1917 and was the only child of farmers Fred and Florence May Cottingham.

Irene Miller was born in 1917 and was the only child of farmers Fred and Florence May Cottingham.

Irene Miller celebrated her 100th Birthday on Sunday.
Irene Miller celebrated her 100th Birthday on Sunday.

After being born with a tumour on the side of her face, her devoted parents searched for a surgeon who would be willing to operate on their beloved daughter. Without the operation, they were told that little Irene would not live beyond two-years-old.

After a lot of searching, they finally found a surgeon based in Harley Street, London, but were told that Irene’s chances of surviving the actual surgery was slim. But at just 11-months old, Irene underwent the operation and beat the odds to survive.

After such a tough start in life, Fred and Florence lavished their daughter with love and devotion as she grew up.

Her son James said: “This was a time before the National Health Service existed. If my grandparents had not had the money for surgery, mum would have surely died. After everything she had been through, she grew up rather pampered, nothing was too much trouble for her parents.”

Irene Miller was born in 1917 with a tumour on the side of her face.
Irene Miller was born in 1917 with a tumour on the side of her face.

After attending the village school in Spridlington, Irene went on to attend the convent in Lincoln. After leaving school, her father bought her a village shop dubbed ‘the corner house’ in Normandy-by-Spital. Irene spent the next five years building it up to be a successful business.

She met husband Fred Miller and they got engaged on Irene’s 21st birthday before marrying in secret two years later.

They lived together at the corner house and Irene gave birth to their three daughters, Ann, Veronica and Betty.

When Irene fell pregnant with James, now 68, they moved to a house nearby that had been built especially for the growing family.

In 1961, the family left the village and bought a petrol station and car business, but the sudden death of her husband in 1970 hit Irene hard.

After caring for her mum for a number of years, Irene moved to Marston in 1996, where she remained until last year.

James added: “Up until three years ago, mum had always been very independent until she fell and broke her hip and spent awhile in hospital.

“When she returned home, my sisters and I would go and see her everyday but she moved into Belvoir House care home in Albion Street when I had a stroke last year.”

Irene celebrated her centenary on Sunday with a letter from the Queen and twenty of her closest friends, old neighbours and family including her great-great granddaughter Phoebe, 2.

James added; “We tucked into a special cake and enjoyed a buffet from Watkins. It was a very special occasion.”



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