A resident at L’Hermitage Care Centre in St Peter, Jersey, was delighted to be able to celebrate her 103rd birthday with family members at the weekend as visitor restrictions start to be eased and garden visits begin at the Home.
Gladys, who has been a resident at L’Hermitage since 2014, celebrating her 100th birthday there 3 years ago, has lived in Jersey all her life, through two wars, including German occupation in WWII, and has now seen the coronavirus pandemic cause major changes to everyone’s way of life.
Her nephew Peter Monamy said it was lovely to be able to see his aunt for her birthday, “I usually see her at least twice a week, but that hasn’t been possible since the lockdown measures came into place in March.
“The Home has done a great job enabling us to keep in touch, almost daily by telephone, and I deliver items of shopping to her weekly. Under the new visiting rules, I can now also visit by appointment to meet her outside for half an hour so we did this for her birthday and I hope helped to make the day special for her.
“Obviously arrangements for her birthday this year were somewhat different from usual, but with Home Manager Colette’s help, Gladys still managed to meet up with family and friends – and I was able to join her for a special birthday lunch.”
The birthday party went according to plan with one of Gladys’ favourite dishes served up – Sea Bass with new potatoes and carrots, which she says are “good for eyes”. There was also a glass of champagne on ice and a fabulous rainbow cake served with a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday from the care team.
Peter continued, “Gifts had to be ‘wipeable’, so flowers were not an option this time but chocolates and wine were gratefully received. It all went off very well and Gladys had a great day. Further celebrations are ‘pencilled-in’ for later in the year whenever ‘normality’ returns!”
Gladys was born in Jersey and has spent all her life on the island, apart from holidays abroad. She remained in the Island during the German Occupation from 1940 to 1945 and later worked in the local Trustee Savings Bank as Secretary to the Actuary for many years.
Gladys had a lovely upbringing and never married saying “life was too full to be married”. She volunteered for St Thomas Church for 25 years from the age of 60 to 85. She also was a member of St John Ambulance for 40 years which she finished doing at the age of 70. Gladys has great faith, the church is very special to her and she believes that this has played a major part in her long and healthy life.
Gladys is a twin although her brother died in 1980. Gladys and her sister Janet lived together for 96 years with their parents, then in St. Helier, the Island’s capital and in the rural Parish of Grouville, from 2007. They both moved to L’Hermitage in 2014 after her sister had a fall and a subsequent stay in hospital.
Home Manager Colette Bonner said; “Gladys is a remarkable lady. She’s active, popular and cheerful, up every morning at 5.30 am and starts the day with a glass of orange juice, she has a lay-in once a week until 7.15 am.
“It was a privilege to be able to celebrate her 103rd birthday here with her and members of her family. Our chef made a fantastic cake and there was a celebratory feeling at the Home as a number of residents were having their first visitors in a long while.
“It was lovely to see family members coming back into the gardens to see their loved ones. We have missed seeing them almost as much as the residents have.”