Woman who beat Covid celebrates 100th birthday with family and new-found friends

The bank holiday weekend was book-ended in one South Tyneside street with celebrations to mark a borough woman’s hundredth birthday.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 6:23 pm

A surprise party was held at the Roseway home on Wear Street for Helen Cowdery a Hebburn resident for more than half a century before moving to the Jarrow care facility.

She was joined in person by two members of family on Monday, May 3, while six relatives held adapted celebrations for Ms Cowdery outside of the care home.

Having battled and overcome coronavirus over the past 12 months, both Helen’s family and her fellow residents were in high spirits for the bank holiday do, Roseway staff said.

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Celebrating her 100th birthday on Bank Holiday Monday, Helen Cowdery, of Roseway House, Wear Street, Jarrow.
Celebrating her 100th birthday on Bank Holiday Monday, Helen Cowdery, of Roseway House, Wear Street, Jarrow.

"It was an excellent occasion,” lifestyle support worker, Pauline Fraser, told The Gazette.

“Helen was with family she hadn’t seen for a little while. It was a lovely, family-orientated get together all around.

"As far as we’re concerned, there was a lovely atmosphere right the way throughout the home. Everyone joined in, with celebrations continuing throughout the day – lots of cake and a toast was made to her with a few glasses of sherry.”

Although born in Felling, Ms Cowdery lived at King’s Avenue in Hebburn for 60 years before joining the other residents at Roseway in March 2020.

According to Roseway staff, she worked in her younger years producing equipment for army tanks and drilling their wheels. She narrowly avoided being on Newcastle’s Byker Bridge when it was bombed during the Second World War, having commuted through the area when the explosives were dropped.

"It was exactly how she wanted it,” Dawn Lyon, another lifestyle support worker at the Jarrow home, said of the hundredth birthday celebrations.

"She’s got a very close relationship with her nephews and nieces, who were there. They’ve often gone on holidays all together in the past. So I think it was a lovely reunion for them as well.

“I think she’s a little bit worn out by it all now. But, knowing how she is, we can tell she had a brilliant time.

"There was no way we couldn’t have done something for her, Pauline and I.”

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