When Priscilla Parker, from Throckley, Newcastle, was born in 1911, suffragettes were still campaigning for votes for women and Captain Scott was putting the final plans in place for his ill-fated trip to the South Pole.
Now, the staff who care for Priscilla – or Cilla – at Brooke House nursing home, West Denton, which belongs to Prestwick Care, part of Newcastle-based Malhotra Group PLC – are making plans of their own; to give her a birthday to remember.
On Sunday 18 October, they will hold a special party for Cilla and along with a cake, they have arranged for balloons and a singer to lead a sing-along of songs through the decades.
Cilla’s son, Raymond, 74, will also be making the journey from his Clacton-on-Sea home, with wife Lillian, to see his mum on her special day.
“Not that she thinks it’s special,” he said, “She’s treating it very much as just another day – it isn’t though. How many people have lived through such change?”
One of six children born to mother, Priscilla and father, Joseph, Cilla attended Throckley council school.
After leaving school, she combined looking after her mother with a part time job at a general dealer’s called Tom Moore’s.
Cilla went on to meet Walter Bethell, a coal miner, and they married at St. Mary’s Church, Throckley, in 1937 when she was 25, going on to have two sons, Raymond and Don, who now lives in Spain.
Following Walter’s death in 1979, Cilla lived alone until a bad fall 18 months ago led to admission to hospital and relocation to Brooke House.
“She’s a lovely lady,” said Brooke House activities coordinator, Emma Keepin. “It’s quite incredible to think that, during her life, lived largely in and around Throckley, there have been four monarchs on the throne and two World Wars.
“In the year she was born King George V was being crowned Emperor of India, Newcastle was getting its first taste of cinemas and the Tyne Bridge as we know it today wouldn’t be built for another 17 years.
“Sadly, most of her family live abroad and can’t be at the party but we will make sure she has a wonderful day.”
Asked to sum up her 104 years, Cilla said: “I really have had a very good life.”
Prestwick Care’s newest care home, Melton House, overlooking Newcastle racecourse, is due to open next month.