Family, residents, staff and guests gathered together at The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) care home Spencer Court in Woodstock, Oxfordshire to celebrate the 109th birthday of Winifred Parker.
Winnie was born in Winson Green near Birmingham in 1913. While in school, she had a job on the sweet counter at Woolworths and went on to selling tinned fruit for the now-closed retail chain. She was also a singer on the Birmingham club scene, and to this day is known in the home for her “brilliant” singing. She met her husband-to-be in Oxford and moved to the city when they got married. They lived in Wolvercote, where she worked as an usherette at the New Theatre.
Winnie’s family spans five generations. She has two grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren. Winnie’s eldest great-great-grandchild is 18, and the youngest is due in March.
Great-granddaughter, Kelly White, (pictured) said:
“It’s priceless for the youngest children to have a great-great-grandparent. We all have so many wonderful memories of growing up with Winnie.”
Winnie’s daughter-in-law (pictured), Jan Jones, added:
“Winnie kicked a ball around with all the kids well into her 80s. It’s marvellous that she has reached this age. Spencer Court is a great home, and Winnie is very well looked after. She is so contented, and you can’t ask for more at her age.”
Sally Connolly is an Activities Coordinator at the care home and has known Winnie for thirty years. Sally organised the birthday party which included entertainment by a saxophonist. Speaking about Winnie’s grand age, she said: “She just takes it in her stride, she puts her pearls on every day and gets dressed up. Winnie just loves life. She lies in till about 9.30 and then has a bacon sandwich every morning with a cup of tea.”
Winnie is the oldest resident at OSJCT, a charity which runs 60 homes and 8 extra care housing schemes across the UK.