South Shields birthday girl Lily Burns has 102 reasons to smile

Celebrating her 102nd birthday, Lily Burns, of Garden Hill Care Home, South Shields.
Celebrating her 102nd birthday, Lily Burns, of Garden Hill Care Home, South Shields.

A former barmaid who spent 49 years pulling pints in pubs across South Shields has celebrated her 102nd birthday.

Lily Burns marked the special milestone yesterday with staff and residents of Garden Hill Nursing Home where she is a resident.

Celebrating her 102nd birthday, Lily Burns, of Garden Hill Care Home, South Shields with staff l-r Denise Peel manager, Sina Scott activities manager, Angela Olsen admin, Sandra Jewit and Karen Lincoln kitchen staff.

Celebrating her 102nd birthday, Lily Burns, of Garden Hill Care Home, South Shields with staff l-r Denise Peel manager, Sina Scott activities manager, Angela Olsen admin, Sandra Jewit and Karen Lincoln kitchen staff.

A birthday cake was also created by the home’s cook to mark the occasion.

The surprise celebration was organised for the former barmaid who served customers in bars across South Shields including The Cyprus and Marsden Inn.

She also served coffee at for a time at the TA centre in Highfield Road, South Shields.

Born on January 15, 1916, Lily lived most of her life in the Lawe Top.

I never thought I would end up living in a home. I always thought I would end my days in my own home.

Lily Burns

She attended a school in Dean Road and spent her working life as a head barmaid covering shifts at various bars.

During the Second World War she was called up to do her bit for her country and was posted in Birmingham where she worked at a munitions factory - at the age of 25.

Lily, who enjoys reading in particular books on history and has a keen interest in the news, said: “After completing five years in Birmingham I came home and I started back in the bar trade - it wasn’t something I really wanted to do.

“I worked in various bars, being called in to cover whenever the bars were short staffed.”

Mrs Burns met and married her husband Albert, who was a clerk with the council, on February 26, 1947. The couple had no children.

She said: “It was the day of the big storm. It was one of the worst winter’s we had ever had. The snow was piled up. I was in the paper, with the headline, Brave Bride braves the Blizzard.

“Things have changed over the years in South Shields but I am happy where I am living now.

“I never thought I would end up living in a home. I always thought I would end my days in my own home.

“I lived in Norfolk Road for 69 years. But I am happy and everyone is taking care of me.”

Lily moved in to Garden Hill Nursing Home in St Michael’s Avenue, South Shields in August 2015.

She has been described by staff as an active resident taking part in a variety of activities on offer at the home.

Activities coordinator Sina Scott said: “Lily is still a very active residents and joins in everything.

“She is a lovely, bubbly lady and we are so pleased to have been able to celebrate her special day with her.”