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Elixir of youth . . . Not so far apart in (technical) age are (from left) Ollie Nelson (6), Eddie Wylie (5), their grandfather Neil Kingan (15), Sienna Wylie and Lillie Nelson (7). PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

Not many grandparents can say they are younger than their grandchildren.

But that is the case for Neil Kingan, who was born on February 29, a day that only comes around once every four years.

The Oamaru Veterinary Centre practice manager will celebrate 60 years since he was born, but only his 15th birthday, tomorrow.

“My daughter had her 10th birthday before I did,” Mr Kingan said.

“I’m having my 15th birthday and my granddaughter has had her 13th.”

Most years, he celebrated his birthday on February 28, so when a leap year came around it was special, he said.

“My mother told me when I was younger that my birthday was the last day of February, so that is how I celebrate it.

“If I’m lucky enough for it to fall on the 29th, that is all cool, otherwise it’s the 28th.”

The unusual birthday had never caused him any trouble, he said.

“A lot of people don’t even click.”

It was rare to have encounters with others who belonged to the exclusive leap year baby club, he said.

One leap year, Mr Kingan was working behind the bar at the Galleon Restaurant on his birthday, and a patron claimed he could not be served because it was his 15th (60th) birthday. Mr Kingan replied that he should not be serving him either because it was only his sixth (24th) birthday.

“I’ve heard of people round and round, but that is the only guy I have ever met.”

In another twist of fate, Mr Kingan’s family will celebrate his 60th year, and 15th actual birthday in Omarama this Saturday, and be served by another leap year baby.

“We are going to the Pink Glider, and when we booked the lady said to us that day, it’s his birthday and he is going to be four’.”