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“Keeping fit” – the secret to a long life according to 100-year-old Witney care home resident

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A 100-year-old Witney care home resident has revealed his secret to living a long and happy life.

Cyril John Holt, known by his friends and family as John, from Care UK’s Millers Grange, on Curbridge Road, marked his 100th birthday on 23rd February. 

Reflecting on his many happy years, John shared that his motto for life is “keeping fit”, as well as being happy and content by being part of a special family and getting on well with others.

To mark the big day, John’s family joined him at the home for a special celebration, and the team decorated the home with balloons and banners. The home’s talented Head Chef also baked a birthday cake for everyone to enjoy.

To make the day extra special, pupils from St Hugh of Lincoln Nursery joined John for a special birthday visit where they shared their favourite ways to celebrate and learned about John’s childhood, chatting about how different it was from their experiences today.

John received many birthday cards, including a very special one from King Charles – and John and the pupils enjoyed having their photo taken with a life-size King Charles cut-out. 

Commenting on the occasion, John said: “I have had the most wonderful day. I had lunch out with my family, then a lovely party with family and my friends in the home. I do not feel any different. I can’t believe I have lived to 100! It was nice to see the nursery children, and they sang happy birthday to me, they visit every Friday.”

Alison Parry, Home Manager at Millers Grange, added: “John is a much-loved resident here at Millers Grange and we all had a wonderful time celebrating his special day.

“We work hard to support residents to lead fulfilling lives, and marking special occasions and birthdays plays a huge part in this. We love any excuse to celebrate the amazing people living here at Millers Grange and John’s birthday was no exception. Everyone had a wonderful time toasting John’s birthday and listening to him share memories from his long, happy life.

“We’re all incredibly privileged to have John as part of the Millers Grange family – happy birthday!”

John was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, in 1924 where he lived until he retired and moved to Stonesfield, Oxfordshire. 

In his younger years, John worked as an accountant. During World War Two, John served as a Sergeant in the British Army for four years. During this time, he was stationed in Italy and witnessed an eruption from Mount Vesuvius in May 1944. 

In 1947, John married his wife, Mary, after the pair met at a local Co-op dance where he asked her to be his dance partner.

Together, the happy couple have a daughter, Kathleen, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. John credits being part of a very special family as one of the key reasons for his long and happy life. Every year he cooked Christmas dinner for a gathering of nine or more family members by himself – a tradition he carried on into his 90s. 

In his spare time, John loves to garden and stay fit maintaining the home’s allotment, as well as playing cards and enjoying days out.

Millers Grange is a modern care home which provides full-time residential, dementia and end-of-life care, as well as short-term respite care. Designed to enable its residents to live enjoyable and fulfilling lives, the care home has its very own cinema and hair salon, and there is plenty of space both in and outdoors for relaxation and recreation.

Open to new residents

Curbridge Road, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 5HR

Millers Grange

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

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