106 reasons to celebrate!

20th November 2020

As they say a picture says a thousand words – and the delighted faces of residents and staff at one of our care homes Ingram House, say it all as they celebrated fellow resident Mary Jacob’s 106th birthday recently. Amongst the well-wishers was Audrey Simons, Ingram House’s other oldest resident at 104 – partygoers with an incredible combined age of 210! (see Mary & Audrey in the image below)

Sadly, Covid restrictions meant Mary’s family couldn’t join her at the party but they very kindly provided a beautiful cake, prosecco and crackers for everyone to enjoy. Staff decorated the room with balloons and bunting and residents had fun playing party games and listening to Mari, one of our carers, playing the piano – helping create a real party atmosphere.

Mary was thrilled with her party and the many flowers and gifts she received. Staff also organised birthday video calls with her family, including her cousin in Australia.

Born in Brockley, south London in 1914, Mary later went to boarding school and then worked as a nurse in London during the war. She remembers various lucky escapes: “The back of our house went after one bombing raid – the whole thing! But the front of the house was fine!” While nursing she recalls how the bombs fell all around them. During one attack a soldier dramatically rescued her by throwing her to the ground and jumping on top of her to protect her. “He saved my life, if he hadn’t done that I wouldn’t be here”, she said.

Asked about her long-life Mary said: “I haven’t got any special secrets – in fact it’s a mystery how I’ve got to this age after so many near misses. I’ve had several bad illnesses too, in fact when I was young the doctor called me his baby as he was always popping in to see me for something! His daughter was the same age, so we became friends.”

Recalling motherly advice that’s now become rather ironic, Mary said her mum once told her: “You mustn’t get old – you forget things!” Luckily for us, Mary defied the odds and is still able to share many of her wonderful memories with us all.

Many congratulations Mary from all of us at the Whiteley Homes Trust on reaching this amazing milestone!

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