Former South Shields cafe worker and cousin of Dr Who actor celebrates 100th birthday with special message from King Charles

A 100-year-old is looking back on her remarkable century of life as she celebrates her special day – and receives a birthday message from King Charles.

Mary Capaldi, resident at Ashlea Mews Care Home, on Stanhope Parade, South Shields, celebrated turning 100 on January 3, and was delighted with a special birthday card from King Charles III and a vintage themed party organised by friends and staff at the home.

Mary, born in South Shields in 1923, spent her birthday reminiscing about her happy, full life and memories of her time as an ice cream seller in Whitley Bay – working for the family business, Whitley Ice Cream Company.

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In her early life, Mary attended St Bede’s school, in South Shields and was one of six children.

Mary Capaldi, 100

She was evacuated to a family in Italy in 1939 until the end of World War II.

After the war, Mary married her husband, Frank, in 1950, with the couple going on to have one son and two grandchildren.

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After marrying, Mary and Frank moved to Whitley Bay where they ran the family business, before returning to South Shields when their son was born.

Later, Mary became a familiar face working at their family’s Espresso Bar, Staiano’s, on Frederick Street, in South Shields, which was there for many years. Frank sadly died in 1977.

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Mary working in Whitley Bay for her family ice cream business

Through marriage, Mary is related to Oscar-winning actor Peter Capaldi – star of TV and film, whose roles including Dr Who and Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It – who was her husband’s second cousin.

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Staff at Ashlea Mews organised a spectacular party for Mary to celebrate her triple-digit birthday where everyone enjoyed a delicious cake and a vintage performance from singer Christine Rosemand.

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Vicki Yeoman, home manager at Orchard’s Ashlea Mews, said, “It was wonderful to celebrate Mary’s special day with her. All the staff and people at Ashlea Mews had a fantastic time and joined her in singing along to songs from her era, which brought back special memories for all. Seeing her face when she opened the King’s card was wonderful – she had such a big smile on her face!”

Ashlea Mews offers residential care, dementia care and respite care to a number of residents in South Shields, with a focus on the community.