Monday July 16 2018

The secret of long life? Contentment, a can of Stella and custard creams

Blackpool's brand new centenarian Eileen Maher knows the key to long life - being content, feeling loved ... and having the occasional can of Stella Artois and a packet of custard creams.

The secret of long life? Contentment,  a can of Stella and custard creams

Come on, Eileen!

Mrs Eileen Maher is 30 years older than the NHS – and just three months younger than the RAF.

Yet she proves you’re never too old to party – or pout when puckering up for your very first ‘selfie’ at 100 years old!

Indomitable Eileen,  Blackpool’s brand-new centenarian, posed for a selfie with some of her ‘bezzies’ at the Princess Alexandra Home, Bosworth Place, Squires Gate.

It’s been her home since May, 2015 when, at 97, she realised she needed a bit of extra help. Prior to that she lived independently in one of the flats at the award-winning facility run by N-Vision, the Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind, which was established in 1910 - just eight years before Eileen was born! 

The former weaver hadn’t banked on having a party. Her key worker Jenny Wilson and others at the Princess Alexandra home had other ideas.

Elaine Wright, care services manager, said: “Eileen said she just wanted her telegram from the Queen – and to feel  loved.”

Eileen not only got her special card but was left in no doubt as to how staff, residents and her special visitors Tom and Pauline Green, over from Surrey for her big day, felt.

Eileen was smothered in kisses, enjoyed a special concert, a dance, and fellow resident John Simms cut a dash in his ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) uniform in her honour.

Pauline explained: “Eileen was my mother’s best friend, they went on holidays, even the QE2, together. I see her as my auntie. She’s a wonderful woman. My last connection with my mum, really.  She’s very important to me.”

Eileen’s a Darwen lass.  “I was born at home near St Cuthberts Church – a lovely church – in Darwen.  I worked where we all worked in those towns back then – in the mills.  I was a weaver.

“I played golf with the ladies’ team in Darwen.  You could see Blackpool Tower from the hill on the golf course

“I used to play tennis too but now I just enjoy listening to it as my eyes aren’t as good  as they used to be!

“I worked at the Royal Ordnance factory and used to go on walks to Tockholes,  a village near Darwen.

‘My friend told me to go to the hotel at Tockholes, as there was a man who was a fantastic pianist.  I went and fell in love with him – he was called Frank and he was a great jazz pianist. We married in 1951. I was 33. We came to Blackpool for our honeymoon and never left.

“We lived near Cleveleys, I worked in an office at a bakery – I liked that job very much.  We enjoyed our holidays too, Tenerife was our favourite.

“It’s all been wonderful! I didn’t expect a party but it’s lovely they have done something so special for me.   Being content has helped me reach my 100th birthday.”

Eileen’s not big on bubbly so her favourite tipple was on tap - Stella Artois! With a packet of custard creams,  it’s her not-so-secret self indulgence… and Stella Artois UK itself tweeted happy birthday, Eileen, in praise of joie de biere! 

·      N-Vision has just been named Charity of the Year, after a poll of shoppers and online, by Sainsbury’s Local at Whitegate Drive. It was one of three charities in the running.






"Being content has helped me reach my 100th birthday"
Mrs Eileen Maher

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