She proved you’re never too old to party or pucker up to pout for your very first ‘selfie’ at 100 years old!
Indomitable Eileen, Blackpool’s brand-new centenarian, posed for a selfie with some of her ‘bezzies’ at the Princess Alexandra Home, Bosworth Place, Squires Gate.
It’s been her home since May, 2015 when, at 97, she realised she needed a hand. Prior to that she lived independently in one of the flats at the award-winning care home run by N-Vision, the Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind.
The former weaver hadn’t planned on celebrating the big 100. Elaine Wright, care services manager, explained: “Eileen said she just wanted her telegram from the Queen – and to feel loved by everyone here. That’s no hardship. She’s a vey special lady.”
Eileen not only got her special card from Her Majesty but was left in no doubt as how staff, residents, visitors and her special friends Tom and Pauline Green, over from Surrey for her big day, felt about her.
She was smothered in kisses, pictured with key worker Jenny Wilson and other staff for That selfie, enjoyed an afternoon concert, and fellow resident John Simms cut a dash in his ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) uniform in her honour.
The former keen golfer and tennis player – who’s been following Wimbledon – also enjoyed a dance with Pauline, daughter of her late best friend. Then she demanded her favourite chair back and a glass of Stella Artois – rather than a schooner of sherry…
Pauline explained: “Eileen and my mother were inseparable, really. They went on holidays, including the QE2 together, and Eileen was there for mum when she was ill. I see her as my auntie, really. She’s a wonderful lady and she’s had – and has – a very full life. She’s very important to me.”
Eileen’s a Darwen lass. “I was born at home near a lovely church, St Cuthberts, in Darwen. I worked where we all worked back then in those towns – in the cotton mills. I was a weaver.”
A keen sportswoman, she used to play golf with the ladies’ team in Darwen.
“You could see Blackpool Tower from the hill on the golf course – I never tried to see Darwen Tower from Blackpool Tower!
She also worked in the Royal Ordnance factory, in munitions, and regularly walked to the nearby village of Tockholes.
‘My friend told me to go to the hotel at Tockholes, as there was a man who was a fantastic pianist. I went and fell in love with him – he was called Frank and he was a great jazz pianist. We married in 1951. I was 33. We came to Blackpool for our honeymoon and never left.
“We lived near Cleveleys, I worked in an office at a bakery – I liked that job very much. We enjoyed our holidays too, Tenerife was our favourite.
“It’s all been wonderful! I didn’t expect a party for my birthday but it’s lovely – especially being sung to. It’s been so exciting. I don’t sleep well but I will tonight.
“I think being content has helped me reach my 100th birthday.”
And while the birthday cake, wine and sherry were lovely, Eileen wouldn’t be without her daily treats – a can of Stella and a packet of her favourite custard cream biscuits…