Dogged determination, a mischievous sense of humour and a love of fruit have helped a grandmother of 19 to reach her 100th birthday.
This week Jennie Wood celebrated her centenary at Sanctuary Care’s The Beeches Residential Care Home in Northfield, where she has lived for four years.
The centenarian enjoyed a party with her loved ones, including son David and his wife Alice, who have flown over from Canada for the big day, as well as son Ken and wife Sylvia.
Born in Aston, Jennie was the second eldest of 10 siblings.
Leaving school at 14, she spent several years working in a jam factory, before meeting husband-to-be Reggie.
The couple, who sadly lost their first son John at two days old, went on to have three children, David, Ken and Sheila.
When Ken was just six months old war broke out and Reggie was called to serve his country, spending five years fighting in the Middle East.
Jennie lived in Erdington and was single handily raising two young children.
She said: “It was awful when the sirens went off. Little David was really scared and would scream. Reggie had built us a tin bomb shelter in the garden so we used to hurry down there.”
After the war the couple moved to a cottage and kept chickens, ducks and pigs. Here they had daughter Sheila.
Sadly Reggie developed lung cancer and died in 1954.
Sheila, who lives in Bartley Green said: “It was tough but we had some lovely times and couldn’t have asked for a better mum.”
When asked her secret to reaching 100 Jennie said: “I’ve always liked fruit and like to eat well. I’ve worked hard and also had a lovely family and lovely brothers and sisters. I can’t believe I have reached this big age with all that’s happened!”
Home manager Bryan O’Connor said: “Jennie has a wonderful sense of humour – she is always telling a joke and is a very funny lady. She is often telling you a story and then half-way through you realise she is pulling your leg.”