Saturday, 13 August 2022

109th Birthday celebration for lady

A WOMAN from Mill End has celebrated her 109th birthday.

A WOMAN from Mill End has celebrated her 109th birthday.

Jean Webster is thought to be the oldest living woman to have been born in Northern Ireland.

As well as a birthday card from the Queen, she recieved a special letter from Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Mrs Webster lived in Mill End with her daughter Maureen until last year when she moved to Acacia Lodge care home in Henley.

Family and friends were with her as she celebrated her birthday with a sing-a-long, cake and nibbles at the care home on  Friday.

Her daughter, Maureen Cleary, 76, said: “It is a mystery how she has lived so long. Working was what made her contented â?? housework mostly, that was her life.

“She has never been ill except back in 1918 when she had Spanish flu. She just keeps going â?? she has never cost the NHS a penny.”

Mrs Webster was born in Belfast on April 17, 1906, one of seven children.

When her parents died when she was in her twenties she was left to look after the family home while working in a linen mill in Belfast.

She met her husband Walter while he was on a cycling tour of Northern Ireland. The couple moved to Aberdeen, Mr Webster’s home town, and were married in 1936.

Eventually they moved to London, where Mrs Cleary was born, after a brief time in Dundee. Mr Webster died in a motorcycle accident in 1973.

Mrs Webster moved to Mill End in the early 2000s after living on her own until she was 95.

Jim Cleary, her 78-year-old son-in-law, said: “She attributes her long life and good health to hard work and will tell anyone that asks â?? and some that don’t â?? how hard it was, particularly as a young girl in Belfast.”

Other members of the family at the party included Mrs Webster’s two granddaughters, Ellen Leith and Sharon Cleary, and four great-grandchildren, Sam Cooper, 26, Charlie Cooper, 16, Mollie Leith, 17, and Freya Leith, 15.

Her grandson Andrew was unable to attend as he was in Colombia.

Entertainment was provided by Kitty Mazinsky who sang songs, including Happy Birthday.

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