A MAN with Down’s syndrome, given a life expectancy of 45 years, turns 70 today.
Phillip Evans, who lives in Blackwood, was born on September 21, 1950. When he was 18 months old a doctor confirmed Phillip has Down’s syndrome and gave him 45 years life expectancy.
(Baby Phillip with his parents and sister)
According to Down’s Syndrome Association only a small number live into their seventies – Phillip’s family believe he is the oldest person in South Wales with Down’s syndrome.
Mr Evans grew up on Rhos Wen Farm with his parents, Glenys and Nayman Evans; sister, Ceinwen; and three brothers: Chris, Gareth, and Anthony.
(Phillip with his brothers – Gareth, Chris, Anthony – and sister Ceinwen)
Reflecting on Phillip’s life, his family said: “Phillip was given chores around the farm.
“Phillip took it upon himself to carry a duck with only one leg up to the pond each morning and bring him back to his hut every evening.
“Phillip was well known in the community and would often visit the local pub with family and friends – he loved dancing and playing darts.”
(Phillip working on the farm as a child)
Over time Phillip’s parents sold their farm and moved to Grosvenor House, in Pontllanfraith, where Phillip lived for 21 years.
He enjoyed sitting on a bench outside the house, waving at passing buses – as drivers got to know him they would beep back.
Following the death of Phillip’s father, his mother Glenys Evans continued to raise him – they attended regular coffee mornings and took bus trips to Blackwood, Newport and Pontypool for tea and a treat.
(Phillip and his mother enjoy a Christmas coffee morning)
In 2014 Ms Evans had an emergency operation and Phillip, then aged 64, was treated for double pneumonia at Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.
Despite a full recovery it was decided that for the pair’s wellbeing Phillip would live at Beatrice Webb Care Home in Blackwood. Ms Evans still visited regularly, with Phillip making weekly visits to her house.
Phillip has been at Beatrice Webb Care Home for six years, where his family say he is receiving ‘the best care possible.’
(Phillip with one of his nieces, Poppy)
“He is living a happy, healthy life and still enjoys dancing and tea,” added his siblings.
“The love between us remains as strong as ever.”
Due to coronavirus restrictions Mr Evans’ family will be unable to celebrate in person with him, but they have a FaceTime call arranged to wish him a very happy birthday.