Grandchildren from as far afield as Hong Kong and Canada travelled to a Sanctuary Care home in Shard End to celebrate their grandmother’s 100th birthday.
On Monday (10 November) Florence Stokes, known as Maud to her friends and loved ones, celebrated reaching her centenary with a family party at Briarscroft Residential Care Home, where she has lived for almost a year.
Joining the celebrations were loved ones who had travelled thousands of miles to be there especially for her big day, including grandson John, who flew over from Canada with his family and granddaughter Ann-Marie, who came all the way from Hong Kong.
When asked her secret to reaching such a great age Maud said: “My faith in the Lord, never smoking, having a little drink to help me to sleep and having good parents.”
Born in 1914 to parents Frank and Minnie Chapman, Maud has lived in Birmingham all her life.
Maud and her husband Henry were childhood sweethearts, growing up two doors away from each other in Erdington.
Henry, known as ‘Harry’ became an international referee with the Midlands Amateur Boxing Association. The couple wed in 1938 at St Mary’s and St Johns Church in Gravelly Hill, Birmingham.
Just after the Second World War started they had daughter Mary, followed by son Tony in 1942.
During the war, Henry, who was an engineer with Morris Motors, served with Air Raid Precautions (ARP), an organisation which protected civilians from the danger of air raids. They issued gas masks, air-raid shelters and helped to rescue people injured and trapped after air raids.
The devoted couple were married for almost 60 years, before Henry sadly died of prostate cancer 18 years ago, shortly after their daughter Mary passed away from pancreatic cancer.
Tony, who lives in Kenilworth said: “She was always a very caring mother. Mary had tuberculosis as a child and spent a lot of time in hospital, so a lot of her time was taken up looking after her.
“She has always been a strong minded and resilient person. Compared with our generation they had had it very tough, with two world wars and depressions to live through.”
Maud, who has five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, has spent all her life in Birmingham, living in Erdington, Nechells and Shard End, where she lived in her own home until December 2013 when she moved into Briarscroft.
Manager at the home, which provides residential care and dementia care, Gwen Sheehy said: “We are so incredibly proud of Maud. She is such a strong-willed lady and is an inspiration to us all. We are so happy to have been able to celebrate her special day with her.”