Double 100th birthday bash at Muswell Hill care home

Christine Coulson and Molly Thompson celebrated their landmark birthdays just five days apart

A MUSWELL Hill care home played host to what must be the rarest of parties this weekend – a joint 100th birthday bash.

Blowing out 100 candles, which had to be split over three cakes, between them, Christine Coulson, born November 18, 1910 and Molly Thompson, born November 23, 1910, celebrated their 100th birthdays together at the Meadow Care Home where they both live on Saturday.

Family, friends, carers and past staff members at the home all joined together to wish the pair many happy returns for lives that have seen two World Wars, masssive social change and great strides in technology.

Elder by five days, Mrs Coulson – a former milliner – said: “People keep asking how I feel to be 100. I think on the whole I feel very proud and pleased with myself.

“To get a telegram from the Queen was quite an honour, it was something special and that can only happen once in a lifetime.”

While Mrs Coulson was joined in celebrating by her daughter, and has several grandchildren, Mrs Thompson was joined by various family members from her three children, two granddaughters and two great-grandaughters.

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Whether it’s a coincidence or not, both women originally hailed from the north and have been staunch Methodists throughout their lives.

In fact, when Mrs Thompson was considering the home five years ago, it was the presence of a fellow northern-born Methodist in Mrs Coulson that convinced her to pick the centre.

As ever, all people wanted to know was the secret to such a long life, but neither of the women seemed convinced there was one – despite similarities in both their anecdotal evidence.

Mrs Coulson said: “I can’t say exactly. Some people say was it because you didn’t drink, but there are hundreds of people who don’t drink who don’t live to 100, so I don’t really know why,” she said.

“I think it’s something in a way that my mother gave me when I was born – she was a good woman and she was a methodist, and we are a methodist family.

“I think if you are in good health it’s wonderful to live so long, but if you are in bad health it just is not very good. I’ve had good health all my life, I’ve hardly had a doctor at my bedside except to have a baby born.”

Her daughter, Helen Ford agreed, adding: “I shouldn’t think there is a secret, but she is a notherner and she always ate well and walked a lot.”

Mrs Thompson’s daughter Daphne Horder offered some similar advice, saying: “She always used to answer that question by saying: ‘going walking everyday and not drinking and enjoying people and being outgoing’.”

Her outgoing nature was best illustrated, said her daughter, by her decade of Saga holidays and adventures she embarked on shortly after being widowed at 80 and the open, community-centred home she ran when she retired with her husband to Hertfordshire.

Both families enjoyed Saturday’s celebration and Mrs Coulson said: “I had a lovely time with my family. It was a very, very special occasion.”

However, Mrs Thompson, who trained and worked later in life as a district nurse, also enjoyed her day, but wasn’t so sure about all the attention. “It’s very nice, but I would not want to be 100 again - it’s too much publicity,” she said.