Why eight's great for lucky Louie

If Louie Ellis had been in Beijing on Friday, he probably would have received more handshakes and messages of goodwill than the whole Great British Olympic team put together.

If Louie Ellis had been in Beijing on Friday, he probably would have received more handshakes and messages of goodwill than the whole Great British Olympic team put together.

But as millions of people welcomed the start of the world's biggest sporting event at 8.08pm on China's luckiest day of the year, the Thetford boy was celebrating his eighth birthday on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008.

The schoolboy, who was also born at 8am on his parent's eighth wedding anniversary, didn't seem too fussed about the numerical significance of his birthday.

Around 15 family members gathered at his home in Mill Lane, Thetford, for a barbeque, games and bouncy castle to celebrate the special birthday.


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His mum, Rachel Ellis, said it was “freaky” the lucky number eight sequence came up for her family. Louie's cousin, Maisie Arnold, seven, was also born exactly eight weeks after him and eight weeks early. There were more family birthdays on Friday with Louie's grandmother Sue Green celebrating her 65th birthday and great uncle Tony Spooner, 70 on 08/08/08.

Mrs Ellis said she did not realise the significance of Louie's eighth birthday until last year.

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“He was born on August 8 2000 at 8am on our eighth wedding anniversary. It was nice that he was a millennium baby, but we did not put it all together that he would be eight on 08/08/08 until 07/07/07 last year. All the coincidences seemed to add up. It was really freaky,” she said.

Louie, who attends Culford School, near Bury St Edmunds, felt like the luckiest boy in the world as he played with his presents including a rowing boat and scooter and tucked into a number eight shaped cake. An eight shaped helium birthday balloon fittingly cost £8.

Mrs Ellis joked that she could have made a fortune if she had taken Louie to China and charged for every handshake he received. The number eight translates into prosperity and wealth in the Mandarin and Cantonese languages.

“We went on holiday in Spain a couple of weeks ago and we went to this Chinese restaurant and we were talking to the owner about Louie's birthday and he was so excited and shook Louie's hand because he said it was so incredibly lucky to have that sequence of numbers,” she said.

Mrs Ellis added that her personalised car number plate - 583 RE - which was bought before her three children were born, related to all of their birthdays. Meggie, 12, was born on April 5, Louie, eight on August 8, and Harry, 14, on February 3.

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