Fair Havens News – 106 Years Young on 1st April (It’s true!)

Dorothy Saunders on her 106th birthday on 1st April

Dorothy Saunders lives at Fair Havens in Southampton and celebrated her 106th birthday on 1st April.  She was born in Southampton in 1913 – that’s before the start of World War I!

Dorothy’s birthday party took the theme of a Mad Hatters Tea Party.

The community at Fair Havens helped Dorothy celebrate with a special lunch and then preparations were made for a Mad Hatters Tea Party – the home was decorated with balloons and Alice in Wonderland memorabilia (these can be seen in all the photographs).  An amazing array of sandwiches, sausage rolls, cheese twists, other savoury nibbles and cakes were provided for family, visitors and the Fair Havens community.

Throughout the afternoon Dorothy received birthday visitors. Here she is with Ruth Earl from Keychange Central Office.

Family members who were able to be with Dorothy on her special day were her grandniece Karen Wateridge and two of her sons, Jack and Dan. A reporter and photographer from the Southampton Daily Echo arrived to capture the occasion in word and pictures.  Visitors from the Central Office of Keychange were the Operations Manager and the Administrator.  Then Dorothy’s old neighbours arrived – she had lived on her own in an upstairs flat until the age of 104.

Dorothy receiving a birthday cake from Keychange Central Office visitor Brian James and watched by her grandniece Karen Wateridge (left) and other residents

Dorothy kept saying: “I’ve had a lovely day” and it was obvious that she enjoyed every minute of her 106th birthday.  She took all the excitement and bustle in her stride and was thoroughly engaged with each set of visitors.  Commenting on her birthday being on April Fools’ Day, she said: “When I was in school, I would never admit to having a birthday on April Fools’ Day, but now amongst friends, it’s fine …”

Dorothy with one of several birthday cakes to mark the special occasion

Brian James, Operations Manager, was invited by the Manager, Tracey Halley to make a speech marking the special occasion. Dorothy responded by saying that the staff and everyone had been so kind, and that if everybody had not been there, she would have had to spend her birthday on her own.

It was lovely that Dorothy was able to celebrate such a special day in the heart of the community at Fair Havens where she now lives.

Some of Dorothy’s birthday cards on display above the fish tank in the lounge at Fair Havens, including cards from The Queen and Department for Work & Pensions