7th Mar, 2021

All smiles as Coventry's Edna toasts her 105th birthday

Tristan Harris 18th Feb, 2021 Updated: 18th Feb, 2021

A COVENTRY woman who lived through two World Wars and the last big pandemic The Spanish Flu has celebrated her 105th birthday.

Edna Saunders was born on Stepney Road, Upper Stoke, in 1916 and was the second of four children.

Support workers at the Bevan Court extra care housing scheme in Cheylesmore, where she has lived for the last nine years, hung balloons and banners in her apartment to mark the occasion.

And Edna enjoyed a visit from her daughter and son-in-law Linda and Peter Thomas, who form her support bubble.

During the Second World War Edna, then in her 20s, worked in the office of the Lockheed aircraft factory in Leamington.

She was later employed at Bristol Siddeley Engines and then worked as a secretary in the apprentice training school at Alvis Car and Engineering Company until her retirement in 1976.

A keen dressmaker, knitter, patchwork quilt-maker, cook and baker, Edna married twice and went on to raise two daughters on her own.

Her younger daughter, Linda, 72, lives nearby and Gillian, 82, and her family live in Portsmouth. She has six grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.

All three of Edna’s siblings lived long lives, making it to 89, 95 and 99, although at 105, she is the only centenarian.

The child of publican parents, Edna grew up in the Raglan Tavern – which closed in the late 1960s – and White Hart pubs.

She attended Wheatley Street school in the 1920s, which later became Priory Secondary Modern School, and later Sidney Stringer School and Community College.

In her younger years, she loved to travel internationally and holidayed in Malta for her 85th birthday in 2001.

Jayne Williams, care support worker for care provider Making Space said: “Edna moved into Bevan Court in 2012, initially into an upstairs apartment. Four years ago she relocated to her ground floor flat due to declining mobility, but she still is fiercely independent.

“She used to do all her own cooking and often shows us something she has made, for example the bed spread currently on her bed.

“She is very proud that she single-handedly raised two children and is still active and mobile even though she struggles to walk due to pain in her legs.

“Edna looks forward to visits from her daughter Linda, at least every other day and can’t wait until they are able to hug each other again.

“She had her first vaccine in January and hopes, if restrictions allow, to be able to have a bigger celebration with family later in the year.”

Linda said: “Mum is a very generous person.

“She was definitely born before her time.

“She is really very intelligent and if she had been born in a different era, she would have been able to have an impressive career.

“She enjoyed going to work and she was a conscientious and self-motivated person”.

Bevan Court is managed by housing organisation Midland Heart provides 42 self contained apartments, 30 of which have round the clock care offered by adult health and social care charity Making Space.

Tenants of the scheme live with a number of health conditions including dementia.

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