A resident at Sanctuary Care’s Time Court Residential and Nursing Home celebrated her 100thbirthday recently.
Ellen Fox, a former show dancer from Deptford, put her secret to reaching such a great age down to “drinking a little drop of whiskey after breakfast!”.
The birthday girl was born on 28 May 1914 and was one of seventeen children brought up solely by her father as her mother sadly passed away when she was two. Ellen’s two surviving siblings are her twin brothers who are aged 82 and living in Scunthorpe.
Ellen attended school in Deptford before taking on a job cracking nuts in New Cross. It was at this time that she met her husband, Leslie George Fox. The couple married shortly before the Second World War, on 5 June 1937 at St Nicholas Church in Deptford.
Speaking of her husband, Ellen said: “When I look back on my life I certainly see being married to a wonderful man as the most significant thing – and having a large and loving family.”
The couple had three daughters together, Jean, Pat and Elaine. When the Second World War broke out, Ellen and her eldest daughter Jean were evacuated to Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire. They lived with Ellen’s father and several of her siblings in a large house in the town. Ellen said: “It was a time I have very fond memories of – so lovely to have my family all together.”
The family moved back down to London after the war. The centenarian always loved dancing and used to dance in productions at the New Cross Empire, her favourite being a production of Broadway hit show ‘The Chorus Line’.
Ellen attributes her longevity to her “love of dancing, feeling good within myself, enjoying holidays and being outdoors”.
The birthday girl has six grandchildren, Kevin, Garry, Tony, Leslie, Jason and Tina, and 11 great-grandchildren, aged between two and 23 years old. Several of them will be joining her to celebrate her 100th birthday at a special birthday tea at the care home.
Ellen moved into Time Court, which provides residential, dementia and nursing care for the elderly, in 2011. The home’s manager, Mary Johnson, said: “Ellen is a lovely lady who is loved by all the residents and the team here. She still takes part in whatever she can and takes a keen interest in all that’s going on around her. We are all delighted to be celebrating such a milestone birthday with her.”