Gwen celebrates turning 103 at Balsall Common care home

The team at the home threw her a party

Gwen at her birthday party. Photo supplied
Gwen at her birthday party. Photo supplied
Gwen at her birthday party. Photo supplied

A resident at a care home in Balsall Common celebrated her 103rd birthday last month.

Gwen Keane who is a resident at Harper Fields Care Home turned 103 on August 26.

The team at the home decorated the function room with helium balloons, as well as 103 huge balloons and they set up a vintage tea party and provided a red carpet and balloon archway at the entrance for Gwen to walk in to her party.

Gwen when she was younger. Photo supplied
Gwen when she was younger. Photo supplied
Gwen when she was younger. Photo supplied

To welcome her was her friends from the home, Hayley Wilkinson the general manager came in although she was on holiday and many team members joined too.

Gwen’s daughter donated 12 bottles of champagne for the party and the home's chef made a cake.

There was a projector screen which played video messages to Gwen from her family and there were also some messages from Strictly Come Dancing stars.

A local choir called the Firebird singers recorded Happy Birthday and a special rendition of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ as Vera Lynn is Gwen’s favourite singer.

Sarah from the Firebird choir said: “Gwen is someone who comes across with a positive energy and it made us all want to give some of her positivity back to her.

"103 is an amazing achievement we hope she enjoys the Vera Lyn songs and our messages.

"As Gwen was in a choir she will understand how wonderful music is and being part of friendship group can be. We are happy to help and hope it surprises Gwen and makes her happy."

After the event Gwen said: “I loved every minute of my party I felt like a princess.”

The team at Harper Fields also set a challenge to the local community on Facebook, to send in Birthday cards for Gwen so she could receive 103 or more cards on her special day - she received 145 cards, which she enjoyed reading and looking through.

Gwen moved from the Leeds area four years ago, she is an avid Leeds United football fan and her Birthday has been shared on their Facebook page.

The clubs supporters are also sending in gifts and cards.

Her daughter Angela said: “Mum was born the youngest of seven children in 1917 in Leeds. She got married to my father in 1951 and quickly had two children, a daughter and a son.

"Before this, she worked a personal assistant in an office but gave it up as many women did in those days when she married.

"Her life was then devoted to caring for my brother and myself, and her mother who was in her 80s by then and lived with us.

"Mum loved to socialise and help people: she did some voluntary work, was active in the Townswomen’s Guild and was always on hand to help out neighbours or family who needed anything.

"She never learnt to drive but would get on a bus, train or walk to wherever she needed to get to whether that was a day trip out with friends, a weekly trip to the hairdresser, shopping expeditions or to see a relative.

"In her 60s she started going to keep fit classes, she swam and tried out line dancing.

"Mum had been married for just over 63 years when my father died in 2015. She and my brother moved from Leeds to Balsall Common so that I could look after them both but even then she was still very independent.

"She moved to Harper Fields in 2019 where not even a broken hip following a fall has kept her still; she’s “on the go” the whole time.

"Keeping busy and active has kept her going along with the odd glass of sherry.”