South Shields birthday girl celebrates turning 106

106 year old Gwen Purvis with her Nephew Bruce Cooper and his wife Christine look on. Picture by FRANK REID
106 year old Gwen Purvis with her Nephew Bruce Cooper and his wife Christine look on. Picture by FRANK REID

It was party time for one of South Tyneside’s oldest residents yesterday as she celebrated her 106th birthday.

Gwen Purvis enjoyed a party tea with family, friends, staff and fellow residents at Garden Hill Care Home in South Shields to mark the big event.

You couldn’t wish to meet a nicer woman

Tracey McCaffery

The fun-loving pensioner is still full of life and loves to talk and remember the old days.

Gwen was born in Jesmond, Newcastle, and lived in Spennymoor before finally settling down in South Shields.

It was there where she wed her late husband, George, on her 24th birthday, in the town’s St Michael’s Church.

Their time was tragically cut short as George was sadly killed during the Second World War in 1939, at the age of just 28.

Care practitioner at the care home, Tracey McCaffery, said: “She said she never remarried again because she loved him too much.”

Despite being widowed at a young age, Gwen, who worked at Reyrolle in Hebburn, said she has had a good life.

Although her body is now getting a bit frail, Gwen’s mind is still very sharp.

Tracey said: “She loves to talk, she will have you chatting all day. She was so excited about her birthday, I don’t think she slept for a week.

“You couldn’t wish to meet a nicer woman.”

Staff at the home made it a day to remember for Gwen with cards, flowers and a cake.

The pensioner’s nephew went along to join the celebrations and during the week she had lots of old friends and former neighbours going along with birthday wishes.

Tracey said: “She is a very much-loved woman.”