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‘Live by the sea’ – Local care home resident reveals secret to long life on 101st birthday

Home news

A resident at a care home in Woking celebrated her 101st birthday by sharing the secret to a long and happy life. 

A very special birthday celebration took place at Greenview Hall, on Streets Heath, when resident Elsie Surtees Bell, celebrated her 101st birthday in style, revealing her secret to longevity is to ‘live by the sea’ and to ‘eat lots of fresh fish’. 

To mark the big day, the team decorated the home’s bistro area with balloons and banners, and the home’s talented chef baked a special birthday cake for everyone to enjoy. 

Elsie was born on 1st March 1922, in North Shields just after the First World War. During the Second World War she joined the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) and lived in numerous cities around the UK, including in Wales where she was a telephonist for the wounded in a hospital. Elsie also went on to drive lorries in the blackouts and drove prisoners of war around the country. 

She first met her husband, Jonathan, at the age of 14, who was a friend of her brother. They married in the late forties after the war and had two children, David and Annie. 

After the war, she worked for her dad’s insurance agency and became a bookkeeper. Later, once her children were older, she ran a guest house in the seaside town of Whitley Bay to pay for her daughter’s private school fees. 

When asked what the secret to a long life was, Elsie said: “Live by the sea! Fresh sea air, walks to the shops and cooking lots of fresh fish is my secret.” 


Meera Govindapillai, General Manager at Greenview Hall, said: “Elsie is a beloved resident at Greenview Hall, and it was wonderful to help her in celebrating this wonderful milestone.

 “Everything we do is centred on helping the residents to lead active and fulfilling lives, so we are always eager to recognise significant anniversaries and birthdays. No exception was made for Elsie's 101st birthday, and it was brilliant to raise a glass of bubbly to her on her special day. Happy Birthday to Elsie!” 

Designed to enable residents to live active and fulfilled lives, while also promoting independence, Greenview Hall, incorporates space for hobby and leisure activities. The home provides full-time residential care, nursing care, dementia care and respite care. The layout of the building is configured into a series of individual suites, each having a dedicated lounge/dining room to help facilitate the creation of close-knit communities.

To find out more about Greenview Hall, contact Home Admissions Advisor at Greenview Hall, Kim Wyllie on or call 01483 610870 or visit

Open to new residents

12 Streets Heath, West End, Woking, Surrey, GU24 9QY

Greenview Hall

CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Day club

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