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Wartime ‘Canary Girls’ supervisor celebrates 101st birthday at Ely care home

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A choir of primary schoolchildren has helped an Ely care home resident celebrate her 101st birthday, presenting her with handmade cards and singing Happy Birthday.

Lily Hale, who has lived at Lily House care home in Ely for six years, was joined by pupils from Isle of Ely Primary School and family members to celebrate the momentous birthday.

Lily Hale (L) celebrates here 101st birthday at Lily House Care Home in Ely with her friend, Jayne Martin (R).
RMG Photography

After receiving dozens of cards and a rendition of Happy Birthday from the schoolchildren, Lily and her family enjoyed an afternoon tea.

Now that Covid restrictions have been relaxed, the care home, on Lynn Road, and Isle of Ely Primary School have resumed their intergenerational work which sees pupils visit the home to read to residents, take part in group play activities and learn about history from residents.

Born in Islington in 1922, Lily met her husband of 60 years, Len, while out picking flowers with a friend.

Despite being only teenagers, it was love at first sight and the pair married a few years later in 1942.

During World War Two, Lily took up a position as a supervisor managing a group of ‘Canary Girls’ who took over the production of metal war components while men, including her husband Len served in the armed forces.

After the war, Lily worked for the Ministry of Food, issuing ID cards and food coupons, while Len took up a position in the diamond grinding trade.

They had one daughter, Sandra and after the loving couple retired, they moved to live closer to her, their two grandchildren and three great grandchildren, in Wicken.

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The pair were well-known in the area, joining over 60s groups and laying wreaths during Remembrance Day services.

Sadly, Len passed away on the evening of Lily’s 83rd birthday.

Lily’s daughter, Sandra Cutter, said: “Thank you to the wonderful staff at Lily House, and the children of Ely, for helping to make my mum’s 101st birthday so special. It’s brilliant that everyone has made such a fuss of her and made sure she has a wonderful day.”

Lily Hale (C) celebrates here 101st birthday at Lily House Care Home in Ely with her daughter, Sandra Cutter (L) and friend Jayne Martin (R).RMG Photography – January 2023 
Kerry Clifton, Lily House manager, said: “We take pride in making sure all of our residents have great birthdays, but it’s not every day some turns 101 so we knew we had to make it extra special.

“Some of her family have made the trip from overseas to celebrate with her and I’m pleased that along with Isle of Ely Primary School, we have been able to mark the day with such fanfare.”

“Bryony Surtees, head at Isle of Ely Primary, said: “The children love visiting Lily House and spending time with residents. It’s a great learning opportunity for them and the residents are always so happy to see them.

“We used Lily’s birthday as an opportunity to teach them all about some of the world events that she lived through over the last 101 years.

“Each has designed their own card for Lily, and they were so excited to come along to present them to her and sing Happy Birthday.”

Lily House is centrally located in Ely and can offer a wide range of elderly care needs, including provision for people living with dementia, for up to 44 residents. It is rated as Good by the industry regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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