Bella Rind celebrated her 103rd birthday this year with a tea at Jewish Care’s Lady Sarah Cohen House in Friern Barnet. The centenarian was surrounded by three generations of her family including her son, Laurence and his wife, Doreen along with their two sons, Luke and Seth and great grandchildren Ellie 7 and Jessie 4.
Despite being 103 Bella isn’t afraid to move with the times. With assistance from her niece and daughter in law, she keeps in touch on Facetime with her daughter in law’s mum, Eva who is 97, as neither of them can travel and they used to talk every day.
Born 21 September 1914, Bella, who is also known as Bobby, lives up to her name. Bella’s daughter in law, Doreen, says, “Bella has a marvellous memory and looks fantastic, her hairdresser Terry, comes to do her hair each week as he has for 50 years, and every week her niece, Helen, makes sure she has a beautiful manicure.”
The centenarian’s response; “People ask me what my secret is, there’s no secret. I’ve still got my sense of humour; I always look on the funny side. I feel no different to before. These days I like having the newspaper read to me as my eye sight is not what it was and I enjoy the shabbat service here. I’m happy and grateful to be living in a Jewish environment and feel safe.”
Eastender born Bella attended Stepney Jewish School until she went to work at 14 as a needle worker at a dress maker. She married Reg Rind and was engaged at 22. Bella says, “We met at a dance when I was 20, in those days you used to wait for a fella to ask for a dance. Reg came over and asked me to dance and asked if he could walk me home with my friend. He told me the next day that he was going away to work on a cruise ship to New York as a steward.
“When I got home my sister Rai was waiting up to ask about the dance and see if I had any chocolate to share. Rai thought we wouldn’t see each other again but it was a lovely surprise when I got a letter from Cherbourg soon after and we stayed in touch. When he came home and we got engaged.”
The couple married in 1937 at Lea Bridge Road Synagogue and spent many happy years living together, sharing a house with sister Rai and brother in law, Lou in Newington Green.
After the first year of marriage, Reg was called up to be a chef in the army and Bella went to work in a munition factory making small arms, on 3 hapence an hour. She recalls going into the Anderson shelter in the flats across the road to her during the air raids in WW2. Their son Laurence, was born in 1944 and nieces and nephews followed, her sister Rai, went to work whilst Bella preferred to be the home maker, “I liked taking care of the children and cooking, one of the favourites was my apple cake and strudel, later I worked from home as a manicurist.“
Bella and Reg were happily married for 57 years and when Reg passed away in 1995, Bella moved to Southgate to be closer to her family and before moving to Lady Sarah Cohen House, two years ago