Brian Dolling celebrates unique '18th'

Brian Dolling has been on this earth for 72 years but only just celebrated his 18th birthday - because he was born on a leap year on February 29, 1948 at the Cleve Hospital.

Mr Dolling was surprised by friends and family on Thursday evening at the Cleve bowls club, as well as a visit from brewers Victoria Bitter.

Mr Dolling said they initially contacted him a month ago in regards to putting on a celebration, however it wasn't until wife Jacqui picked up the phone when they called back that the planning got underway.

Mrs Dolling said it was a bit of a surprise to be contacted by VB, but that Mr Dolling did enjoy his beer.

Two representatives flew over to see Brian, presenting him with a birthday cake, personalised beer bottles and an '18' balloon for the party.

Mrs Dolling said the plan was to get Mr Dolling down to the club being a pennant day, but they had to change tack when she realised they had the bye.

"I thought 'how are we going to get him down here?'," she said.

"So one of his mates said 'oh we need to take down the honour board off the wall'.

"We had the family home for the weekend, which was lovely.

"All in all it was a bit of fun and something to remember."

Mr Dolling said his birthday had always been this way and he was never "that fussed" about it, instead celebrating on March 1 on non-leap years.

"I was born about 1 o'clock in the morning, and I always used to say (to my mother) well why didn't you grunt a bit harder?," he joked.

"We learned there is a name for us - leaplings - now I tell my bowling mates I've got a title."

Mr Dolling also said his granddaughter, Sophie, bet him to 18.

"I was going to have something for my 70th but I thought I would wait until I actually had a birthday," he said.