Wheathampstead woman celebrates 108th birthday

THERE was a special celebration at Thomas Sparrow House last Thursday as one of its residents celebrated her 108th birthday.

Ruth Prince has lived at the council-run Thomas Sparrow House in Wheathampstead, for the last 17 years and marked the milestone with carers, staff, fellow residents and Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Aisleen Lee, amongst others.

Born in Tunbridge Wells on July 10, 1903, Ruth lived with her parents who both died by the time she was 11. She had one sister named Dorothy who passed away a few years ago.

In 1941, Ruth married her husband Albert in London Colney. He was a milkman and used to get up early to milk the cows by hand before delivering it around the town using a hand cart.

He later got a pony and cart and Ruth would help out by leading the pony. She recalled how one day the horse became frightened and ran off, leaving milk scattered all over the road! She also worked in laundry during the Second World War.

The couple, who had no children, moved to a cottage on Nomansland Common in Wheathampstead before later moving to Sandridge.

Ruth finally moved to Thomas Sparrow House in 1994 and has had the same carer, Helen, for the past 12 years.

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Her good friend Joan Cashford, 84, said: “Ruth is lovely; she’s very generous, kind-hearted and likes to have people around her.”

Always conscious to look her best, Ruth had her hair done specially for last week’s celebration and was dressed in one of her favourite outfits from Marks and Spencer.

During the party, which was organised by Alderman Chris Oxley, the 108-year-old was presented with flowers by the Mayor and with a huge cake, which was baked by Mr Oxley’s wife Marion.

Mr Oxley said: “I’ve met Ruth three times now and she’s very sprightly. All the staff at Thomas Sparrow House have said what a lovely person she is.”