Milestone day for South Shields birthday girl Mena as she turns 109
It was celebrations all round as South Tyneside resident Mena Larkin marked her 109th birthday with special guests and a party tea.
A resident at Westoe Grange Care Home in Horsley Hill Road, for almost three years, Mena still maintains much of her independence - and her humour.
Yesterday, to mark the milestone, she was joined by Paralympic gold medal swimmer and MBE, Josef Craig,
Mena was also treated to a mini-show latyer in the day by South Tyneside singer James Bassett.
The teenager, is known for his ukulele playing skills and appeared on TV Show Little Big Shots after he was talent spotted by its producers.
He put on a show for Mena and other residents as a special treat for the birthday girl.
Born in 1909, in South Shields, Mena spent her childhood growing up in and around South Frederick Street.
She moved to London with her husband, Alexander, but later returned to her home town following her his death in 1971,
Mena was well-known in the town after running fruit stalls at South Shields market for a number of years and also played for Cleadon Ladies’ Bowling Club.
When asked how she feels reaching the grand age of 109, she said: “I feel fine, unless the doctor comes and tells me otherwise. It feels no different to when I was 99.”
She added: “I have had a busy life. I have worked hard all of my life, When I was 10-years-old I used to help out in the flower shop we had in Frederick Street.
“I loved doing the wedding flowers.”
She added: “My nephew Bobby has organised my birthday party, I just wished my husband Alex was here.
“He was a very happy man and he would have loved all this.”
Josef said: “It has been fantastic to meet Mena. I can’t imagine me living to 100 never mind to 109 - it’s fantastic.
“She is incredibly healthy for her age and she has lived such a fulfilling life.
“If I can live half a full-filling life as Mena has, I’ll have done well.
“Meena was really impressed with the MBE and we sat and spoke about the Queen.”
Liz Capewell, assistant manager at the home said: “Mena is such a fantastic lady. She has been a resident of ours for nearly three years now.
“She has a great sense of humour and is loved by everyone.”