St Albans care homes celebrates residents’ 100th birthdays
- Credit: Archant
Two St Albans care home residents have celebrated their centenary.
Margaret Almond, who has lived in Verulam House in Verulam Road since January 2016, received a surprise social-distanced visit from her family to mark the occasion of their 100th birthday.
She was born in Rotherham, South Yorkshire and had two sisters Vinnie and Mabel, who are sadly no longer with us.
Growing up Margaret was very involved with the church as her father was a verger. She worked for many years as a school secretary which she loved before having her two children, John and Jane with her husband Noel.
Margaret also has a granddaughter Katie, and her interests included gardening, knitting, playing badminton, watching cricket and snooker and socialising with her friends.
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Meanwhile, Grace Muriel House resident Enid Robinson received a couple of special surprises when celebrating her 100th.
Despite the restrictions on visitors due to lockdown and the extra protection measures, over 20 people gathered at the end of the house’s driveway on Tavistock Avenue to serenade Enid with renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘For She’s A Jolly Good Fellow’.
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“I knew nothing about it,” said Enid, who has been a resident since March 2018. “I was blindfolded when they took me out and was asking, ‘Where are you taking me, am I outside?’. When the blindfold was removed it was a lovely surprise to see most of my family and friends, especially my youngest great-grandchild who is six months old and who I hadn’t seen before. I’m lucky to have lots of friends including my long-term friend Jenny, who I met at the United Reformed Church many years ago and who organised the party. ”
Following the signing the local postman arrived to present Enid with a birthday card from The Queen. “I said thank you to Her Majesty and curtsied from my chair as best I could,” she said.
She took a look at The Queen’s picture on the cover and exclaimed, “I look better than her!” provoking a roar of laughter from the audience.
Enid has managed to be in touch regularly with her son, daughter and grandchildren since lockdown began.
She said: “In normal circumstances they would be popping in and out and taking me out, but visits now are more frequently over WhatsApp and FaceTime. I speak to one of then every night and enjoy garden visits when permitted.”
Enid has led a very active life. She met her late husband Robbie during the war, following which they moved to St Albans. An accomplished badminton player, she managed to play regularly up until the age of 90, and attended a weekly canasta group until lockdown prevented them meeting.
Staff at Grace Muriel House love Enid’s outgoing and sociable nature.
Registered manager Annette Gibbons said: “Enid has a young outlook and takes a pride in her appearance. She has a good rapport with the staff and had developed close friendships within the home, which has helped her to cope during lockdown. She has had a number of physical setbacks, but she is a strong and determined lady who will always do her best to bounce back.”
Celebrations continued throughout the day, “In the afternoon we had a lovely party with some of the friends I have made at Grace Muriel House and Lorellie, one of the cooks, made a beautiful cake covered in flowers.”
“I had a fantastic day,” she added.
When asked about her favourite experiences of the last 100 years, Enid added: “I have had a good life and overcome some difficult times, but I have made so many good and lasting friendships and have a wonderful loving family.”