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 Blanche celebrates 102nd birthday with big bash

Blanche celebrates 102nd birthday with big bash

By 27th March, 2023 Press Releases No Comments

A BIG birthday bash was held at Huddersfield’s Thornhill Care Home when retired teacher Blanche Patch turned 102.

Blanche received hundreds of cards and gifts after the care home’s activities coordinator, Ilona Ruttle, put an appeal on Facebook, which received widespread attention.

More than 200 respondents sent their well-wishes to the care home, on Thornhill Road, Edgerton, which included boxes of dark chocolates after Blanche revealed they were her favourite.

She also had dozens of visitors on her big day, including some of her former pupils from Greenhead High School (now Greenhead College), where she worked as a biology teacher before moving to Newsome High until retirement at 70 years of age.

Children from Reinwood Infant & Junior School also visited the care home to sing happy birthday to Blanche.

There was also a musician, Mason Whittle, who sang and played guitar, Ann Wear and her local belly dance troupe “Hathor”, and the Kirklees Mayor Cllr Masood Ahmed attended and cut the cake with Blanche, which was made by Georgina Foster, domestic worker and activities coordinator at the care home.

The Mayor also presented Blanche with a card, flowers, and a copy of his official badge, which was pinned to her birthday sash.

Blanche said: “It was so wonderful of him to come.

“It was a really marvellous day. Thank you very very much for making me so happy.”

Blanche was born on 17th March 1921 and grew up in Chadderton, Oldham, where her parents ran a chemist and her brother was an optician.

She chose to devote her life to teaching, however, and moved to Huddersfield to join Greenhead High School, where she was well-regarded by her pupils and colleagues.

In 2013, Blanche attended a Greenhead High School reunion, which saw former pupils from the 1941 to 1943 year group gather at All Hallows Parish Church, in Almondbury.

In her younger days, Blanche also played hockey, winning trophies and cups for the college.

She said: “Marriage was never on my mind. I preferred being taken out more. I was frightened by the thought of marriage. I didn’t want to be bossed around by anyone.

“I have taught a lot of children in my time and also loved them. If I want to do something and it’s worth doing, I will teach.”

After retiring in the early 1990s, Blanche stayed in Huddersfield and eventually moved to Thornhill Care Home in July 2022.

Ilona Ruttle, activities coordinator at Thornhill Care Home, said: “I decided I needed to throw Blanche a big party to celebrate her wonderful achievement of reaching 102 years.

“I contacted the local Facebook groups and asked for people to send cards and mentioned Blanche’s love of dark chocolates. We had an amazing response and were inundated with cards, presents, flowers, and of course chocolate, much to Blanche’s delight.

“She is an amazing lady and this was the least we could do to help her mark such a special occasion.

“I’m so pleased she had an amazing day and everyone at Thornhill Care Home would like to thank all the visitors, especially Mayor Ahmed, for making it extra special.”

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