Young at heart Hampstead grandmother celebrates 100th birthday in style

Myrtle, centre, celebrates her 100th birthday at the heart of her family.

Myrtle, centre, celebrates her 100th birthday at the heart of her family. - Credit: Archant

Myrtle Stone, who lives in Hampstead, celebrated her 100th birthday at a party with family and friends, staff and volunteers at Jewish Care’s Michael Sobell Community Centre in Golders Green, where she is a member.

Myrtle's birthday cake for her many friends and guests.

Myrtle's birthday cake for her many friends and guests. - Credit: Archant

After the party, Myrtle, who enthusiastically joined in with the singing and dancing throughout the party, was delighted with the entertainment and music.

She told her friends: “I can’t believe I’m 100 and I enjoyed seeing everybody at the party.”

Myrtle’s daughter, Gillian Catto, who lives in Portugal, said: “We had a lot of parties for mum’s birthday, with family and friends at Keat’s House where Myrtle sang at the party.

“She’s come to the Centre for the past two years, she’s loved it so much and has such good friends here.

“It’s wonderful to have everyone here celebrating together, all the family are here from America and the Phillipines, my brother David, my son and my daughter Sophie, who brings her to the Jewish Care Centre three times a week.”

Born on July 1917 in Willesden, Myrtle married and brought up her children in Hampstead and has lived there for most her life.

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She lived in Windmill Hill in the 1970s and 1980s, before moving to Keats Grove.

Her daughter, Gillian, founded the Catto Gallery in Hampstead.

Myrtle’s father was a film maker and encouraged Myrtle to be independent and travel the world, supporting her to go to South Africa and live in Paris when she was young.

His films are now at the BFI and the family watched these together over her centenary birthday celebrations.

Once Myrtle married, she brought up her three children in London, moving to Kings Langley with her children during the war whilst her husband stayed in London, the family returned to their home after the war.

The couple were involved in fundraising for ORT, a Jewish charity which promotes education and training in communities around the world, for many years, until her husband passed away 34 years ago.

Her granddaughter, Sophie Austin is very close to her grandma and they enjoy going to going to galleries and museums.

Sophie said: “Being 100 is quite an achievement, we didn’t know what would come out of going to the Centre and how life would change from meeting people there but coming here has totally changed her.

“All the singing and music was obviously there in her and she loves to sing, and take part in the music and the entertainment sessions, the classical music as well as the entertainer and Oleg who now comes to do music sessions with us at home too.

“We have made a really strong network of people through those connections. It really has contributed to her joy of life.”

“Grandma used to love going for long walks with her dog on the Heath every day and has been very active but now she has discovered music in her later years and loves it, she does four hours of singing a week and plays the drum.

“She had a stroke in her 80’s but has great rhythm, she enjoys songs from the 1930’s, folk songs, cockney songs and classical music.”

Sophie added: “She is very young in herself. She’s very playful and light hearted.

“She has been through a lot in her lifetime and has had times of physical ill health but always pulled through and is incredible.”