A daughter of a seafaring family is celebrating her milestone 100th birthday today in a Sanctuary Care home in Hersden.
Ellen Isobel Howard – who likes to be known as Bobbie, is celebrating her 100 years with a family party at Meadow View Residential Care Home in Blackthorn Road, where she has lived for three months.
Secrets to reaching 100
When asked her secret to reaching such a wonderful age Bobbie said: “I’ve always kept busy, remained active and happy and enjoyed lots of gardening – oh and the occasional tipple of whiskey.”
Born in Seaton Carew in County Durham on Tuesday 7 November 1916, Bobbie grew up with her older brother Norman and her parents William and Jane Welsh.
Bobbie’s family has always had a love of the sea air with many relatives, including all her uncles being marine pilots– mariners who manoeuver large ships through dangerous or congested waters – and her brother Norman also followed suit and served in the merchant navy during the Second World War.
Not following her family’s footsteps the birthday girl decided to keep her feet on solid ground and apprenticed as a hairdresser once finishing school – until she was called to be a welder during the Second World War.
It was also during the wartime she married the love of her life George Howard. The pair got married in 1942, when they lived in Hetchworth, Hertfordshire, and went onto have two children – son Peter and daughter Jane.
More than 10 years later, in 1955, the family of four relocated to Whitstable in Kent.
Bobbie’s daughter Jane Duckworth said: “Mum has always been there for me and has done all that she can by us, I am so pleased that not only my children but my grandchildren have had the privilege of meeting her.
“I have so many fond memories with my mum – too many to count and celebrating her 100th birthday is another one to add to the very long list.”
Four generations later
The Howard family has now blossomed into four generations with two grandchildren, Daniel and James, and three great grandchildren, Charlie, George and Jaydon.
The birthday girl also enjoyed many hobbies throughout her years, from gardening and being able to grow anything with the upmost patience, to being a member of the Seasalter Women’s Institute, as well as fundraising for her local Methodist church in Herne Bay.
“Bobbie is so lovely and warm…”
The Sanctuary Care home’s activities leader Christina York added: “Bobbie is so lovely and warm, she’s very kind and her stories are just fascinating. It’s wonderful to be celebrating such a wonderful birthday with her loved ones.”
To also mark her special day, a quarter peal of bells will be rung for Bobbie at St Dunstan’s Church in Harkness Drive.