Grove schoolgirl’s 12th birthday today is a rare event

Herald Series: Millie Preece from Grove turns 12 today  Picture: OX55382 Ric Mellis Buy this photo Millie Preece from Grove turns 12 today Picture: OX55382 Ric Mellis

GROVE schoolgirl Millie Preece’s birthday is a dozen times more special this year – as she celebrates turning 12 on 12.12.12.

And today’s special date will also be memorable for couples getting hitched across the county, with 12, (yes 12), couples tying the knot.

Didcot Girls’ School pupil Millie was born on December 12, 2000.

But as her mum Wendy, 49, explained, she wasn’t actually expected until the following year.

“Millie was due on January 1, 2001,” said Mrs Preece.

“But I felt a strange lurch three weeks before on the morning of December 12, and she was born in the downstairs cloakroom of our house, before we could even get to hospital.

“We always joked that she came early because she didn’t want to miss Father Christmas, but it wasn’t until her birthday last year that Millie herself suddenly realised her 12th birthday would fall on 12.12.12.”

Millie lives in Bosley’s Orchard in Grove with her mum, her dad Richard, 57, who is a gardener and her two brothers, Nathan 22, and Callum, 15.

She is also the 12th grandchild of her paternal grandparents.

She said: “When I realised I was going to be 12 on December 12, 2012, I thought: ‘Wow, that’s good’.

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“Then I found out it was really rare and exciting for that to happen.

“I am hoping for lots of great presents including a mobile phone and an iPad – and maybe because it’s 12.12.12 I should ask for 12 new handbags.”

It will be wedding cakes, not birthday cakes, enjoyed by other 12.12.12 celebrants today.

Alicja Gilroy, Oxfordshire’s Superintendent Registrar, explained: “It’s an amazing coincidence, but we have 12 civil weddings booked for today, here in Oxford at the Register Office and at locations across the county.

“That’s about three times the amount of weddings we would normally expect for this time of year, and we will have all our teams out conducting ceremonies.

“It certainly looks like people have been taking advantage of the last opportunity to have their wedding on a sequential date this century.”

Among the 12.12.12 newlyweds will be Gregory Price, 27, and his fiancée Melissa Jones, 23, who are marrying at the Spread Eagle in their home town of Thame at 5pm.

Mr Price, who is a special police constable, based at St Aldate’s, in Oxford, said: “I proposed last October in Big Ben’s tower and when we looked at dates this year we discounted 12.12.12 at first because it was a week day. Then we realised how special it was and re-booked it.

“We’re thrilled to be marrying on 12.12.12 as it is so special.”

Sharon Church, 48, and her fiancé Aaron Reed, 47, chose 12.12.12 for its numerical and spiritual importance and believe it is ‘fate’ they should marry on that date.

Ms Church said: “Aaron and I met through our work in the motor trade six years ago.

“I believe in the power of numbers and three has always been significant for me. A couple of years ago we looked at getting married on March 3, 2012, but that didn’t happen, so the next significant date was 12.12.12.”

The couple, who live in Swindon, but work in Oxford, are getting married at the Four Pillars Hotel in Sandford-upon-Thames at 1.30pm.

POPULAR DAY FOR EVENTS

The last time we celebrated a sequential day, month and year combination was 11.11.2011.

Depending on how dates are written the next time this occurs could be 2/2/22, or if double figures are taken into account, it will be 01.01.3001 – which will occur at the beginning of next century, in 988 years.

As well as proving a popular day for weddings, 12.12.12 has prompted a rash of other events: Today was purposefully chosen for 12.12.12, the all-star benefit concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy at Madison Square Garden in New York.

And a so-called International Day of Interconnectedness will see special spiritual and cultural events taking place around the world, including a giant group meditation in Auckland, New Zealand, a peace concert in Amsterdam, a special 12.12.12 ceremony at the mystical Tor in Glastonbury, Somerset, and a celebration of ‘light artists’ from around the world at the Metropole Hotel in London.

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