GIFTS and cards flooded into a Huddersfield care home to mark resident Eileen Goddard’s 100th birthday following an appeal from staff.
They hoped to receive 100 teddy bear themed birthday cards to mark Eileen’s 100th year – but far exceeded their target when cards starting coming in from around England and overseas.
Birthday cards came from as far afield as Canada, Minnesota in the US, and Australia, as well as Huddersfield, Dover, Leeds, York, and Middlesbrough.
More than 150 cards were received by the centenarian in total, alongside teddy bears, a Body Shop pamper hamper, and bouquets of flowers, including one from florist Pink Petal with a balloon and little teddy.
One card contained a scratch card, another had money and a note telling Eileen to have a drink on the sender and another had a teddy bear coaster enclosed.
Staff at the home clubbed together to buy Eileen a tiara and sash to wear on her birthday as well as cotton handkerchiefs.
Eileen celebrated her big day with a “social distancing” party in the home with fellow residents and staff. Her family also visited the home, remaining outside due to restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “I can’t believe all of this is for me, thank you. I feel like I am 21 again. I feel like the Queen herself.”
Eileen was born in Leeds on 5th June 1920 – a year-and-a-half after the end of the First World War, with the country still recovering in the aftermath of the conflict.
She was a secretary before the outbreak of the Second World War and then she worked in the fuel rationing office.
After the War, Eileen married John Goddard, who she met when visiting Kildwick Hall, North Yorkshire, for lunch with her family. John was playing the grand piano at the event and the pair caught each others’ eyes in the crowd.
Eileen said: “I feel very lucky to have gone for lunch at the hotel and met the love of my life playing a grand piano.”
The pair married in 1949 and had their only child, Pauline, two years later, in 1951. As a family, they enjoyed travelling together, climbing mountains, and spending weekends on various boats they owned over the years.
They lived in Ingleton, Scarborough and Keighley, before John passed away and Eileen settled in Huddersfield. She moved into Aden View Care Home in February 2015.
Kimberley Mckay, home manager at Aden View Care Home, said: “Eileen was overwhelmed with the generosity she received on her birthday and couldn’t believe that everything was for her. She got very emotional when she opened the card from the Queen.
“The response we received to her birthday card appeal was fantastic. We were all amazed to see cards start coming in from around the country and from abroad. We can’t thank everyone enough for sending cards and gifts – especially the teddy bears.
“Eileen is obsessed with teddy bears – she tucks them in at night, gives them drinks and rocks them – so when she started receiving teddy bear cards and soft toys in the post she was thrilled.
“It was a very special occasion enjoyed by everyone at the home.”