It was a day to remember for care home resident, Eileen Jones, as she celebrated her milestone 100th birthday with family and friends.
To kick off the celebrations, Eileen enjoyed a family meal served by the team at Signature at Winchester. The care home then brought song to proceedings through an entertainer covering 50s, 60s and 70s classics, as well as a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” and additional requests from Eileen.
After a dance and a singsong alongside the team members at the care home, Eileen settled down to open a bounty of gifts and cards, including a bouquet of flowers, truffles, a nail pamper kit and a much-anticipated card from King Charles III to mark her centenary year.
Eileen concluded her day of festivities with an afternoon tea party alongside her fellow residents. The group then watched a movie of Eileen’s life, to the song of ‘Can’t help falling in love’ by Elvis Presley and enjoyed a birthday cake freshly prepared by the catering team at the care home. Life began for Eileen in Littlehampton, Sussex, where she was born in 1921. Over the course of the next 100 years, it has taken her around the world and saw her support her country in its hour of need.
The Second World War was a particularly poignant and defining moment, where at the age of just 17, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). Eileen was stationed in Guildford, Reading, Kingston, and Hampstead. During this time, she undertook a pivotal role as part of the force, plotting the movements of enemy aircraft for the anti-aircraft defences that were crucial for protection against strikes upon the country.
It was during this period that Eileen met her husband-to-be in Hampstead, who she married following the conclusion of the war. The couple spent a long period of their lives in North London, raising two children.
Over the years Eileen and her husband developed a true taste for adventure, enjoying holidays around the world. And while he sadly died in 2005, she encapsulated both of their thirsts for travel, embarking on solo trips down the River Nile, and an Atlantic crossing on the iconic Queen Mary II ocean liner.
Eileen arrived at Signature at Winchester in 2018, where she is much-loved among her fellow residents and team members alike, regularly enjoying getting involved in activities such as doing the flower arranging, music classes and arts and crafts. When asked how it felt to reach the milestone and what advice she would give for reaching such an impressive age, Eileen said: “It does not make any difference to me, as I am still the same person that I was years ago! Every time I go to bed my goal is to wake up a day older and continue to enjoy life as much as I can – that is the advice I would give others.”
Speaking about Eileen, Michelle Japlit, General Manager at Signature at Winchester, added: “Eileen has a quirky sense of humour and is very easy to connect with. She always finds positivity in everything she does, and she can effortlessly touch your heart.”