A Winchester care home resident had an unexpected deluge of good wishes as she celebrated her 100th birthday.
Team members at Colten Care’s St Catherines View took an imaginative approach to resident Hilary Schoenman’s big day knowing that lockdown would prevent a face-to-face party with family and friends.
Instead, they put out an early appeal on social media inviting people in the community to send in birthday cards.
Altogether, a remarkable 182 cards were received not just from Winchester, or even England, but as far afield as Australia and the United States.
Companionship Team Member Laura Sheldrake said: “It was incredible. We gathered all the cards as they came into our letter box and kept them together until Hilary’s birthday. There were so many we had to deliver them to her in batches. It wasn’t only cards, there were gifts too. We even had offers to help her celebrate with ballet performances, saxophone playing and choir singing to name but a few. Unfortunately, due to lockdown, we couldn’t take those up but we were all overwhelmed by people taking the time to be so generous. The whole idea was to make it an occasion to remember and judging by the response I think we succeeded.”
Hilary, who also enjoyed a family tea party via Zoom and a homemade cake, said: “It was just marvellous.”
Gifts on the day included miniature bottles of gin from Surrey-based Wessex Distillery and a gin and tonic-making ‘kit’ from local couple Matthew and Meredith Parris.