Ipswich resident Vilma Harding, born in the Edwardian era in 1905, celebrates her 108th birthday today with cake, flowers and a visit from the Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Hamil Clarke.
Vilma, who lives at Crabbe Street care home, still enjoys regular outings, getting her hair, nails and makeup done each week and sharing a box of chocolates. She also loves a glass of sherry.
Pam Purnell, Care UK manager at Crabbe Street care home, says: “Vilma is a very special and very popular lady. She is a much loved character at Crabbe Street and is the oldest resident we have ever had. Her age is remarkable yet she is still going strong”.
Vilma is probably the second oldest woman in Ipswich, after Doris Punchard who turned 109 this July. Vilma and Doris are amongst the one hundred oldest people in Britain.
Vilma, who has received the customary centenary birthday telegram from the Queen, was joined at her tea party by Care UK colleagues, friends and family. A strawberry cream tea, live musical entertainment at the home and a specially iced cake in Vilma’s favourite colour lilac were also arranged on Sunday.
Mrs Harding spent most of her life in Southend, Essex, where she worked in a fashion department store. She followed her son John, who is now in his eighties, to Suffolk and moved in to sheltered housing at Walsingham Court in Ipswich, before becoming a resident at Crabbe Street care home in 2009. Her family spans five generations, with 5 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and 7 great-great-grandchildren – many of whom live around the world in places such as America and New Zealand.
Vilma was born during the reign of King Edward VII and has lived to see four further monarchs on the British throne. She has lived through 2 world wars and in the month she was born Albert Einstein’s paper introducing the famous E=MC2 equation was published.