An ex-nurse who has lived up and down the country has celebrated reaching her 100th birthday.
Eileen Noonan, who likes to be known as Peggy marked her milestone birthday in style on Saturday 6 August at Sanctuary Care’s Ashgreen House Residential and Nursing Home in Sandbach Place, Woolwich surrounded by friends, family and residents.
Reflecting on how it feels to reach 100, Peggy added: “I feel so lucky, I’ve lived a happy life and I am now here 100 years on spending time with my wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
It all started in 1916…
Born on Sunday 6 August 1916 in Lichfield, Staffordshire, the birthday girl lived with her three sisters – Hilda, Joan and her surviving sister Choti – and parents Richard, who served in the army, like his father and her mother Nell, who was a nurse.
Childhood in India
At the age of six, Peggy and her family relocated to India to follow her father who was serving in the army until she was 12, when Peggy and her two sisters moved back to Manchester to live with their grandparents for a few years before the family were back together again in the 1920s.
Peggy added: “I have many fond memories of India, it was a beautiful place to call home and I still love sharing happy stories to this day – especially with my great-grandchildren.”
Finding love at a tea party!
Before the Second World War, Peggy followed her mother’s footsteps and became a nurse and it was during this time when she met the love of life at a traditional tea party in 1939.
After some time courting, Peggy and Tom, who was slightly younger than the birthday girl, decided to ‘tie the knot’ the non-traditional way and romantically run away together to elope.
A happy family of five
Their love story went from strength-to-strength and the pair went onto have their first child, son Clifford, before Tom was called to serve in the war for four years.
During the war – while single-handedly caring for her son, Peggy also worked in her local shop to serve for the troops, who were waiting to be called out.
After the four years while Tom was away, the family of three called many places home from Newcastle and London to Wales and along the way Peggy and Tom had two more children to become a happy family of five – another son Mike and a daughter Pat in 1956.
The Noonan family has now blossomed to four generations with three great-grandchildren – Grace, nine, Henry, six and Bella Rose, one and a half.
The Sanctuary Care home’s clinical services manager Karen Davies said: “Peggy is a huge character in Ashgreen House. She is such a witty and remarkable lady and we were honoured to be celebrating such a special birthday with her and her family.”