Lockdown didn’t stop one of Scotland’s oldest women celebrating her 107th birthday at a Glasgow care home yesterday!
Ellen Gardner has lived through two World Wars and the 1920s Spanish Flu outbreak, so she wasn’t going to let the current Coronavirus pandemic spoil her celebrations.
Staff at Glasgow’s Orchard Grove Care Home pulled out all the stops to ensure Ellen’s milestone birthday was marked with a special party, complete with a DJ and a piper.
TV hadn’t been invented when Ellen was born in Glasgow’s East End in 1913, women couldn’t vote – the Suffragette movement was at its peak, George V was King and Asquith was Prime Minister.
But despite her grand age, Ellen, latterly of Auldhouse, still enjoys a party. She enjoyed special birthday cakes donated by McGee’s the Bakers, flowers from Glasgow’s Lord Provost and music provided by Orchard Grove employee and part-time DJ, Stephen Kay, who set up his decks in the home so all the residents could share in the fun while staying safely indoors.
Pupils from Toryglen School hub for key workers also created Happy Birthday banners for the special occasion which was delivered, contact-free to the home.
Visitors are currently banned from entering UK care homes due to the Coronavirus outbreak, but Ellen’s son, Ronnie and his wife Liz, were able to safely see her open her presents and wish her happy birthday from outside the building in the garden area.
Retired surveyor, Ronnie of Clarkston, said: “I usually visit mum three times a week but haven’t been able to see her for weeks now because of the virus, which is a bit annoying. I’ve been able to phone her and the staff sent me a WhatsApp message of her in a wheelchair out in the gardens, but it was nice to see her on her birthday, even if it was from a distance. She seems to be keeping remarkably well and is in good health for her age.
“Everything the staff have done is really remarkable. The staff are excellent in the unit she is in. They are very thoughtful and always friendly to myself and my wife when we visit.”
Great-grandmother Ellen loved to travel when younger – visiting her other sons, Alan, and Johnston, in Canada, Hong Kong and South Africa. She also loved knitting, puzzles and Scrabble and was a member of South Shawlands Parish Church.
Ellen cared for her family and husband John who worked at Beardmores in Parkhead but sadly died of cancer in 1970. She also worked as a nursing auxiliary at Philipshill Hospital in East Kilbride and for Prudential Insurance.
Glasgow Lord Provost, Councillor Philip Braat, sent Ellen a bouquet of flowers along with special birthday wishes.
He said: “I’d like to congratulate Ellen on this very special occasion. She has lived through some truly historic world events and her 107th birthday takes place amid yet another one. It is really heart-warming to hear of the hard work staff at Orchard Grove have put in to ensuring she can celebrate this momentous event and share it with her family despite social distancing and the lockdown. Their thoughtfulness and compassion at this exceptionally challenging time is commendable.”
Orchard Grove Care Home is run by Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership.