MARGARET REILLY had a hundred good reasons to smile recently, as she celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends.
Mrs Reilly marked the occasion with an afternoon tea party at St Joseph’s Care Home in Coleshill, Warwickshire – with her relatives flying in from Ireland on the morning of her big day to join in her special celebrations.
Those who couldn’t come sent messages and photographs and spoke to her through a video link. She was then joined by friends for the party, organised by staff at the home.
Margaret's niece Mary Reid said her aunt was the first person in the family to reach a century, so it was a wonderful occasion for them all.
“We weren’t sure she’d see the day. But, last year, one of her carers said to us, ‘Margaret will live to 100’ and we held on to that bit of hope,” Mary said.
Margaret received a telegram from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd MP, congratulating her and wishing her many happy returns on her milestone birthday.
Staff at the home baked a special cake and laid on party food for Margaret and her guests to enjoy as they listened to live music from an Irish singer.
Andy Quinn, chief executive of Father Hudson’s, the Social Care Agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, also dropped by with birthday greetings. He presented Margaret with a certificate, which she was delighted with.
Born in Ireland, Margaret moved to London in her twenties almost eight centuries ago.
“She lived a humble, clean-living life in London and went to Mass every day,” added Mary.
“To move to such a big city by herself, especially during the war, took a lot of strength. But Margaret was very tough and independent.
"We are very pleased with the care she has at St Joseph’s and want to thank the staff there for helping us organise her party. It was lovely to see all the residents come out and for Andy Quinn to come and see her. It was a truly lovely day.”