A bingo-loving great-great-grandmother who was born in 1917 when the First World War was at its height, Buffalo Bill Cody died and Houdini performed his buried alive trick has celebrated her 102nd birthday.
Widow Gertrude Jones and her 90-year-old little sister, Gwen Davies-Barrett, held a small family party at Pendine Park’s Hillbury Care Home in Wrexham where they both now live.
According to the former Sunday School teacher, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes were among the secrets of a long life.
Her birthday cake was decorated with the number of days she has been alive – 37,255.
Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes were among the secrets of long life for a great-grandmother who has celebrated her 102nd birthday.
She has been resident of Hillbury for the past seven years and volunteered in the charity shop at the town’s Nightingale House Hospice until she was 92.
Daughter Kath Teburi said: “Mum is still doing well although she has had a few ups and downs this year. She doesn’t say a great deal these days although she still keeps the Hillbury House care practitioners on their toes!
“It’s good Gwen has now moved in and joined her sister as a resident at Hillbury House. It means they see each other every day and can keep each other company although mum trends to sleep a lot these days.
“We decided against a big birthday party this year as it’s too much for her. But we had a special birthday cake made as she enjoys a slice of cake. The family are popping in to see her throughout the day.”
She added: “We worked out mum has lived for 37,255 days, not forgetting to deduct days for leap years, and we incorporated that on the cake. We did think about trying to work out approximately how many times her heart has beat but that was too difficult!”
Daughter-in-law Jackie Jones said: “She always loved bingo and was a regular at the Mecca in Wrexham. She also enjoyed crochet and crosswords too, simple things really. But she would do anything for anybody. She always had such a lovely nature.”
Gertrude, whose maiden name was Wright, married Herbert Lee Jones who was a maintenance worker at Wrexham’s army barracks and they had four children.
Kath said: “Dad and mum were married for 49 years and just missed out on their golden wedding celebration as dad passed away in 1989.
“Of their children I’m the youngest, then there’s my two brothers Neville and Jim and we had a sister, Eileen. Mum now has 11 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and just one great-great grandchild.
“It was just lucky that my grandfather moved his family, including my mum to Wrexham as he got a job in the town all those years ago. They lived in Salop Road. Mum went to was the National School but that’s now called St Joseph’s.
“She was also a Sunday school teacher for many years at the chapel in Talbot Road but that was when she was much younger.”
She added: “Cindy Clutton, the manager at Hillbury House, and all the staff are fantastic and mum doesn’t want for anything. She does spend a lot of time sleeping these days but still enjoys an occasional sing-song.”
Sister Gwen enjoys the fact she can see Gertrude every day now she has herself moved into Hillbury House.
She said: “It’s great, Gertrude does sleep a lot these days but we do talk about our younger days. I travelled a great deal and lived in different places but its nice now being home and settled.
“I do like it here at Hillbury House, the staff are great and there is always something going on or you can just sit quiet if the mood takes you.”
Hillbury manager Cindy Clutton said: “Gertrude is very popular with both residents and staff. It’s an amazing achievement to reach 102 years young. She is quiet these days and has been a bit poorly on occasions this last year.
“However, she takes everything in her stride and always lets us know what she wants or if she isn’t comfortable.
“Gertrude’s family are very caring and she always has lots of visitors popping in to see how she and Gwen are getting on.”
She added: “She’s an amazing lady and we are delighted and thrilled to be able to celebrate her remarkable 102nd birthday with her albeit quietly. It’s a special day and she’s a very special lady.”