22nd May 2013

Home's First Lady Celebrates

The first person to move into a Barnard Castle care home has become their first resident to celebrate a 100th birthday.

Annie Atkinson, who lives in the Manor House Care Home, was 100 on May 3. The centenarian, who has three children, 13 grand-children and 15 great grand-children, was the first person to move into the home when it opened in December, 2009.

Mrs Atkinson has lived her whole life in Teesdale and is a well-known member of the farming community, having lived on farms until she retired to Barnard Castle. Born Annie Alderson on May 3, 1913, she lived at Moorcock Farm in Barningham until she married her husband, Denis.

The couple, who met at a dance in Rokeby, married at Thorpe Hall in 1937 and moved to Thorpe Farm in Greta Bridge. They were married for 63 years. Denis died in 2000.

Their three children are David, Pat and Geoffrey. While Denis was a keen gardener, Annie's passion was for arranging the flowers he grew for her and she often made arrangements for family weddings and the church. She was also a keen embroiderer in her youth and is still a prolific knitter. Last year she knitted more than 20 jumpers for babies in some of the poorest areas of Africa who are wrapped in newspaper when they are born and so are known as the 'fish and chip babies'.

Mrs Atkinson said: "I never ever thought I would live to this age though we used to kid about it.

"I just had a peaceful life I've had a good life and a good husband and good parents and good children.

"You should always keep going to keep yourself interested.

"I've always tried to do as much as I can instead of asking people to do this and that for me. I've had a lot of laughs as well which is important."
Around 40 members of her family attended a party on Saturday, May 4 at the home.

She said: "I want to thank everyone for being so kind and remembering my birthday. People have sent so many cards so I'd like to say a big thank you for that.

"All sorts of people remembered which was lovely.

"I want to thank Manor House as well for their hospitality over the weekend. They did us proud"

Her daughter, Pat Fava, said: "It's been quite humbling to see how many people have remembered and it just shows how popular mum has been and how well she was known and respected."

Michelle Buck from the home said: "It's been fabulous to be part of this wonderful cele-bration for Mrs Atkinson. It was so exciting, especially because she was our first resident".

Article courtesy of Teesdale Mercury.

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