RNNH care home resident celebrates 100th birthday with a surprise visit from down under

Rita on her 100th birthday with RNNH care home staffAt RNNH Care Home in Bournemouth, Dorset, one of our residents, Rita Crumplin, has been celebrating her landmark 100th Birthday which was topped off with a wonderful surprise treat – a visit from her son, Paul, who flew all the way from Australia to share in his Mum’s special, centenary day.

Rita, who has been a resident at RNNH for two and a half years, is a ‘Bournemouth born and bred’ lady. She attended East Howe School, which over a century ago was the first purpose-built school in the area. Her favourite subject at school was cookery as she said: “I really enjoyed our cookery classes as we had to go to another school to use their facilities. It got us out of our normal classroom and made a nice change to go and see another school.”

During World War II, Rita served her country in the Land Army. She also worked in a garden centre in Ringwood and later became a full-time Mum and Housewife.

Rita and her husband Ronald – who served as a soldier in the War – met one evening when they both were on leave from the Army and happened to be taking a stroll in the same place, at the same time. “I was out taking a walk with my friend when we happened to bump into Ron and his pal. I suppose the rest is history,” Rita said.

Rita's 100th birthday cake“We got married in St Mark’s Church on Wallisdown Road in Talbot Village on 16th June 1943 and managed to have a lovely week’s honeymoon in Bridport before Ron went back to the War,” she added.

Following the end of the War, Rita and Ronald – who became a skilled and crafted painter and decorator – stayed in Bournemouth and raised their family, having four children – Cheryl, Kelvin, Wendy and Paul. Over the years, their family grew and Rita is now a proud grandmother to seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Rita’s milestone birthday was a rollercoaster of surprises, not only with the amazing visit from Paul, but she also received her commemorative telegram from Friends of the Elderly’s Royal Patron, HRH Her Majesty The Queen.

Two days before her 100th birthday, the care home team started the celebrations with a pre-birthday party with all Rita’s care home friends. Rita was showered with flowers, gifts and cards – as well as enjoying a scrumptious birthday cake. Rita’s festivities continued on her actual ‘Centenary Day’ with a family outing for a delicious birthday lunch at a local golf club.

Talking about her decision to move to RNNH, Rita said: “My family helped me to choose where I wanted to live. I decided to come to RNNH as I love and know Bournemouth so well. The care home is so lovely, there’s always something going on and the care team are so caring, it was a natural choice. I am very happy here; this is my home now and I have made some lovely friends.

Afternoon tea enjoyed during the birthday celebrations“My favourite activities are the Knit and Natter Group, as well as playing Bingo and the flower arranging sessions and all the care team are very nice to me,” Rita added.

Alan Johnston, the Care Home Manager at RNNH said: “Rita is a very popular resident at RNNH, she spends much of her time knitting and attending our activities. She has a good sense of humour and an infectious smile. We are all so glad Rita had a wonderful 100th birthday, she’s a special lady and we wanted to show her how much she means to us.”

“I had a really lovely 100th birthday, it was a very special and memorable day. Seeing Paul and all the family was magical. I thoroughly enjoyed my wonderful lunch and afternoon birthday tea. I could not have wished for a better day.

“The other day I was asked what was my secret to a long and happy life? That’s easy, a loving and supportive husband and family,” Rita concluded.

To find out more about RNNH care home, call 01202 396 418 or email enquiries@fote.org.uk.