A 100th birthday celebration was the highlight of National Care Home Open Day, which saw the Mayor attend events at five different care homes on Friday 17 June.
A country-wide initiative, the Open Days create links between care homes and local communities through fun activities and events and the Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland, Cllr Barry Hunt, took part in celebrations across the borough.
Visits to care homes in Eston, Saltburn and Redcar were capped by a visit to St Germain’s Grange Activity and Well-being service in Marske and a visit to birthday girl Ethel ‘Billy’ Davidson.
Mrs Davidson, who actually celebrated the milestone a day later on Saturday 18 June, has lived in Marske since 1955 and comes to St Germain’s Grange four days a week.
Still living in her own home, Ethel doesn’t even have a stairlift because of her theory that if she doesn’t use her legs, she’ll lose them. Indeed, she used to go dancing in Brotton on a regular basis, but stopped aged 94 because her dance club closed down!
Born in Middlesbrough, she worked in a wine merchants and Binns during the 1940s in addition to working in an ambulance transporting prisoners of war to Stewarts Park throughout World War Two.
For her birthday, a telegram from Her Majesty the Queen was accompanied by flowers from the Mayor and Mayoress – Olwyn Peters – an experience Ethel said she loved.
“It was very nice to meet them, and they said it was very nice to meet me!” Ethel said. She added: “Don’t tell anyone this, but the Mayor also kissed me twice!”
For anyone looking to emulate Ethel’s centenary, her secrets are: eating chicken, fruit & veg, not smoking and dancing until you’re 94!
The Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland, Cllr Barry Hunt, said: “It was an absolute pleasure meeting Ethel and being able to share in her milestone birthday, although I couldn’t believe that she was 100-years-old, I thought there was a mistake!
“It was also very good to be able to be involved in National Care Home Open Day. Care homes are a crucial part of the community and more should be done to make sure they become a key player in local areas across Redcar and Cleveland, and hosting events like the ones care homes put on last week are a vital part of that.
“We were welcomed at all the homes visited throughout the day, and I can’t stress enough how thankful I am for all the work carers put in on a daily basis.”