100 CARDS FOR LILY

A BANGOR care home is asking people to send in birthday cards for a resident who is about to turn 100.

Bramblewood Care Home is hoping to get 100 birthday cards for Lily McWilliams, who will become a centenarian on May 23.

The idea came from Yana Fleming, an activity therapist at the care home who said this is their first opportunity to celebrate a 100th birthday.

“I’m hoping to get 100 cards for Lily on her birthday and they are coming in fast,” she said.

“We have had one or two residents with us who have been 100 but we haven’t actually celebrated a 100th birthday in here, and I just thought this would be a really nice idea.

“So I put it out there to see what interest there and it’s been fantastic. The family are over the moon with it, so pleased.

“We’re going to have a party for her on her birthday in the activity lounge, so her family can come up and help her open her cards. It’ll be a surprise for her.”

Michelle Forsythe, Lily’s granddaughter, said the response to the appeal has been a ‘ray of sunshine’ and they are so thankful to those who’ve sent cards and to staff at Bramblewood for organising it.

“We had a chat as a family on the basis of the response to the Facebook post Bramblewood put out and we can’t let it go unrecognised, neither Bramblewood for doing it nor the amount of people who responded to it,” she said.

“It’s been phenomenal. We just want to thank and acknowledge everyone.”

Michelle said the whole experience has been so ‘touching’ and has restored her faith in human beings.

“I was visiting my grandma and during the time I was there, three different people came to the door with hand delivered cards,” she said.

“Kids have drawn their own and it’s just so touching. I’ve been contacted by people asking what her favourite colour is, what are her hobbies, and other people who know her eyesight is failing, were going to maybe make cards with raised detail for her. The amount of interaction has been amazing.

“I don’t really use social media anymore, as it’s been such a toxic environment these past number of year, and this has just restored my faith in human beings.

“There are so many kind, generous people there, maybe it’s a mark of Northern Ireland, I don’t know but it’s been so lovely.”

On May 23, Lily is having a tea party at Bramblewood and will be surprised with all her birthday cards.

Michelle said her grandma is still ’feisty’ and can be quite demanding, earning her the nickname of Queen Elizabeth III.

“We’re having a little party for her, as she said she didn’t want a big party. I said if we didn’t mark it in some way, she’d be raging,” said Michelle.

“With nursing care, I felt we were taking a risk deciding on where to put her as you hear so many horror stories, but Bramblewood came recommended by a friend and we couldn’t have made a better decision. The staff in that place are just lovely and she’ll say herself, they spoil her.

“She’s only been there since the end of March and this is the amount of effort they’ve gone to recognise her birthday, it’s a mark of the type of people they are. They are just amazing.

“This is one of the most heartwarming experiences a person can have in a time of life where someone is going into care and you’re so worried.”

Michelle said the whole family just want to thank the staff at Bramblewood as well as anyone who is sending a card for Lily’s birthday.

“As a family, we are so touched and delighted, and she will be as well, she will be absolutely overwhelmed,” she said.

“We just wanted to thank Bramblewood not just for putting the post up but for the care that they give her and the ease of mind that gives us as a family.

“As for those, who’ve reacted to that post, they are phenomenal and they are just lovely people and it’s just a ray of sunshine.”