Having fun and the occasional tipple of Baileys are the secrets to longevity, says a Sanctuary Care resident who celebrated her 101st birthday recently.
Kath Bell, who has lived at Heathlands Residential Care Home in Pershore’s Station Road for over eight years celebrated her milestone birthday at the home on Friday (11 March), surrounded by her family and loved ones.
The birthday girl described her secret to reaching such a great age: “I have had a good and fun life – and I still enjoy an occasional glass of Baileys.”
Speaking about her mother’s day of celebrations one of her two daughters, Joan said: “She was in very good spirits. She had a lovely day and said she is really looking forward to her next birthday. Her sense of humour is still keen and she is very appreciative of the care she gets at Heathlands. The staff are diamonds – they are like family the way they care for her.”
Born in Wolverhampton Kath was the eldest of three children – she had a brother Ken, who has now sadly passed away and a sister Phyl, who is 94 years old and lives in Wolverhampton.
When she left school Kath worked in a steam laundry starching shirts. 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 dances, catching the last train home to Wolverhampton.
The grandmother of two and great grandmother of four recalls: “When I was 19 years old, there was a group of five of us ladies and we used to go dancing every Saturday night. We travelled to Birmingham, Dudley and the Blackpool Winter Gardens. I used to make my own dresses, tops and skirts for the dances.”
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 her daughters 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.”
Manager at Heathlands Netty Matthews said: “Kath has such an infectious personality – she always has a cheeky smile and a twinkle in her eye! She is such an inspiration to us and we are so proud to be celebrating this milestone with her and her family.”