Toast­ing 104 years with a glass (or two) of sherry

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Special Birthday Party - By Tim Collins

tcollins@thek­m­ A tot of sherry and af­ter­noon tea were en­joyed by one of the bor­ough’s old­est and most long-stand­ing res­i­dents on her birth­day.

Winifred Cheal cel­e­brated her 104th birth­day with cake, bal­loons, flow­ers, and more than one glass of the good stuff.

Her daugh­ter, Elaine Jef­feries, and staff at The Grange in Ken­ning­ton joined in the fes­tiv­i­ties, held at the care home last Thurs­day.

Elaine, 69, from Tow­ers View said: “The home did a buf­fet tea, which mum re­ally en­joyed as she’s got a bit of a sweet tooth, which she also in­dulged when we had a posh af­ter­noon tea at Dob­bies on Satur­day.

“And she likes a tipple, so we toasted with a bot­tle of sherry. I sus­pect she may have had another glass later that day.”

Winifred was born in Fran­cis Road in South Ash­ford way back in 1910, the el­dest child of Bri­tish Rail worker Henry El­gar and his wife Louisa.

She has re­mained in the bor­ough through­out most of her life, save for a spot of trav­el­ling. A par­tic­u­lar high­light was see­ing the can-can dancers at the Folies Berg­ere mu­sic hall in Paris in the 1930s.

She at­tended New­town School un­til the age of 14, when she be­gan work as a seam­stress at the nearby Rail­way Works. There she met her hus­band Oliver in the late 1920s.

The cou­ple mar­ried at Christchurch in South Ash­ford in 1930, and had three chil­dren: Martin, 67, Elaine, 69, and Oliver.

Winifred now has six grand­chil­dren, eight great­grand­chil­dren and one great­great-grand­child.

The Cheal fam­ily spent much of their life liv­ing at their bungalow in Mead Road, South Ash­ford, which Winifred and Oliver bought around 1943.

Winifred would con­tinue to live there un­til 2009 when, aged 99, she moved into The Grange.

Sadly Oliver ju­nior and se­nior have both died, but Elaine said her mum has al­ways had an up­beat at­ti­tude to life.

She added: “Mum’s al­ways been a very calm per­son. She’s never been very loud, but she’s al­ways been very cheer­ful. She’s still very with it. Her mind is still very ac­tive.”

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