Last month Phyllis Pritchard, a resident of our extra care scheme Mildmays, celebrated her 100th birthday.
Lockdown restrictions prevented Phyllis’ only relative from coming to London to visit. Nevertheless, everyone at Mildmays ensured Phyllis’ birthday was special and memorable, with residents presenting her a framed poem they’d written for her.
The Mildmays staff also arranged
- a card from the Queen
- a personal video message from the Islington Mayor
- a bouquet of flowers from NHG
- a serenade of her favourite songs, performed from a balcony nearby by talented singer Dan
- care staff singing Happy Birthday outside her room – which was a little unusual as they were all wearing masks
- a socially distanced afternoon tea party.with a special birthday cake and sandwiches, which were carefully distibuted to the other residents in the home
We talked to Phyllis to learn more about her and ask for advice on how to live to a ripe old age.
She was born in Holborn and has lived all her life in London. Her family was a happy one and she had two sisters and a brother. Phyllis worked in the Post Office and was also a dressmaker – she’s once crocheted collars for the royal family. Sadly, she has no close living family left in the UK now and her remaining relative, a niece, lives in Spain.
When asked what her secret was for such a long life, Phyllis said: "I don’t really know - but try to be happy, keep busy and show an interest in things around you. I used to love walking. I used to take a bus from Islington up to Hampstead Heath then walk with friends and family over to Parliament Hill Fields."
When asked if she had any advice for the young generation she said:
"I have no advice - they need to find their own way!"
Finally, Phyllis said being 100 felt no different to being 99 and when asked what she is looking forward to, she replied "the coronavirus lockdown being over!"
Happy 100th Phyllis!