“Feisty” centenarian takes up woodwork at local care home

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A 103-year-old woman from Steyning has been credited for her “feisty attitude” by staff at her care home after taking up woodwork, with her designs being displayed in the care home and a local store.

Kathleen Smart was introduced to woodwork classes at Croft Meadow care home, where she is a resident, in late 2016, with her first design auctioned off in a Christmas sale. Since then, the centenarian has crafted and painted a memory box for her granddaughter and wooden birds, which are being displayed at a local interiors store, Vintage & Home in Steyning. One of her paintings also hangs proudly on her bedroom wall.

The care home began woodwork lessons following high demand from residents, with many of them getting together to create larger designs, including a chair, which is set to be auctioned in a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society this summer.

Born in Medmenham, Buckinghamshire, Kathleen Smart later moved to Hurstpierpoint and then Croft Meadow, where she developed her artistic interests.

Anita Fermer, the activity coordinator at Croft Meadow care home, said: “Kathleen is an absolute joy and is always keen to get involved with the activities at the home. Her feisty attitude has kept her mind young, and the classes and visits to the store cheer her up if she is ever feeling down.

“Our home’s ethos is ‘your home, your rules’, and activities such as woodwork classes allow residents the chance to pick up new hobbies regardless of their age – as Kathleen has shown.”

Shop owner, Amanda Hutton, said: “At 103, I’m certain Kathleen is my eldest customer – and supplier! I always look forward to her visits to the shop and hearing about all the wonderful things she has been making.”

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