Having fun and being young at heart are the secrets to longevity, says a Sanctuary Care resident who has recently celebrated her centenary.
When asked how she felt about turning 100 Kath Bell, who lives at Heathlands Residential Care Home, which provides residential care and dementia care in Pershore said: “I feel 19 at heart and whatever age I am I’m still me.”
The centenarian said her secret to reaching such a great age was: “Having a loving family, taking a positive attitude towards life and having a keen sense of humour – I’ve always had fun.”
The birthday girl, who has lived at Heathlands for over seven years, was born in Wolverhampton and was the eldest of three children – she had a brother Ken and her sister Phyl is still alive today and lives in Wolverhampton.
When she left school Kath worked in a steam laundry starching shirts. Her daughter Joan said: “If she was feeling mischievous, as well as starching the collars and fronts, she would starch the shirt tails as well.”
Kath would often travel to The Blackpool Tower Ballroom, where she would dance the night away, catching the last train home to Wolverhampton and carrying her shoes as she walked home in the early hours.
Joan joked that her mother was not known for her cycling skills. She added: “She went back and forth to work on her bike but was hopeless at starting and stopping. Her mother would help her to get her going and then her pals would be waiting at the other end to help her off!”
Kath lived in Wolverhampton all her life and it was here she met her late husband Sid, who worked in an iron foundry.
The couple, who celebrated their Golden Wedding in 1991, had two children, Joan who lives in Pershore and Diane who lives in Devon.
Over the years Kath turned her hand to many jobs in order to raise her young family, including working in small factories and in catering. She worked extremely hard to make ends meet during the war, with Sid busy making parts for aircraft and vehicles needed for the war effort.
Raised in the ‘make do and mend era’, Kath loved working with her hands and made clothes for her family, decorated hats and spent hours knitting, sewing and cooking.
Describing what Kath was like as a mother Joan added: “She was always there for us. She made our clothes and supported us in every way that she could. We always had a lot of fun. We were and still are very close. She has got such a sense of humour and is fun to be around.”
Deputy manager at Heathlands Netty Matthews said: “Kath has a wonderful personality and is a real joy to be around. She is very mischievous and always has a twinkle in her eye - we are really honoured to celebrate this special day with her.”
The grandmother of two and great grandmother of four celebrated her special day with a large family party at the home also enjoyed a visit from the Mayor of Pershore Tony Rowley.