Friday, 28 April 2017

Another birthday card from the Queen for Jean

A WOMAN from Mill End has celebrated her 108th birthday. Jean Webster received a birthday card from the Queen, just as she did on her 100th and 105th birthdays and each year after that.

She is thought to be the second oldest living woman in the Thames Valley.

Mrs Webster enjoyed a party with close family and friends at the house she shares with her daughter and son-in-law, Maureen and Jim Cleary.

Guests included her granddaughters Sharon Cleary and Ellen Leith, Mrs Leith’s husband Russell, 44, and her great grandchildren Sam Cooper, 25, Charlie Cooper, 15, Mollie Leith, 16, and Freya Leith, 14.

Mrs Webster was born in Belfast on April 17, 1906, the year that the Suffragettes disrupted the state opening of Parliament and E Nesbit’s The Railway Children was first published.

Her parents, who had seven other children, died when she was in her twenties and she was left to look after the family.

She became a weaver and several members of the family worked for Harland & Wolff, which built the Titanic. Mrs Webster met her husband Walter when he was on a cycling tour of Northern Ireland. They moved to his home town of Aberdeen and married when she was 30.

They also lived in Dundee and London, where she worked as a cook and cleaner, and had one daughter, Maureen. Mr Webster died in 1973 after a motorcycle accident.

Mrs Webster has lived with Mr and Mrs Cleary for 13 years.

Mr Cleary, 77, said: “I understand she is the second oldest living woman in this area and the oldest living woman who was born in Belfast. We consider it quite remarkable and we are very fortunate.

She has lived with us for 13 years now and, thanks to great care and attention from Maureen, she has never been ill in the years I have known her.”

He said Mrs Webster had been active throughout her life and spent her 100th birthday doing Irish dancing during a trip on the Thames on the New Orleans.

Mrs Cleary, 75, said: “She is very cheerful and has never had anything wrong with her whatsoever. She is a living miracle.”

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