Wednesday, 17 August 2022

110-year-old is oldest living woman from Northern Ireland

A WOMAN from Mill End, near Hambleden, has celebrated her 110th birthday.

A WOMAN from Mill End, near Hambleden, has celebrated her 110th birthday.

Jean Webster, who was born in Belfast in 1906, is thought to be the oldest living woman from Northern Ireland.

She marked the milestone with a party on Sunday at the Henley care home where she lives.

Members of her family attended the celebration and the Hambleden Women’s Institute choir, which her daughter Maureen Cleary belongs to, sang songs including Danny Boy and Daisy Bell. Mrs Webster received a birthday card from the Queen as well as letters of congratulations from Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb.

She lived in Mill End with her daughter until 2014 when she moved to Acacia Lodge in Quebec Road.

Mrs Cleary, 77, said: “She is an amazing character. She has got 101 per cent resilience and she’s very contented. Maybe that’s the secret.

“She’s still very well and they look after her well at the home.” Mrs Webster was one of seven children but was forced to look after her younger siblings after her parents died when she was in her twenties.

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.

They later 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 79-year-old son-in-law, said: “It’s quite amazing to reach her age.

“She says her secret is hard work from bringing up her siblings in Belfast after her parents died.”

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, 27, Charlie Cooper, 17, Mollie Leith, 18, and Freya Leith, 16.

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

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