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Four generations reunite for Covid-safe 100th birthday party at West Winch care home

Reuniting four generations after a year of lockdown measures, a West Winch care home helped arrange a Covid-safe 100th birthday surprise for a resident on Saturday.

Dorothy Williams, a resident at Winchley Home in Rectory Lane, was expecting a phone call from her family, but they decided to surprise her with a reunion with her daughter, four granddaughters and nine grandchildren.

Organised with the help of staff at the care home, the family remained in their family bubbles with Dorothy behind a glass window while they sang Happy Birthday.

Dorothy's daughter, Carol Seabrooke, said: "We couldn't have had a better day for it, the weather was gorgeous and it was a total surprise! Mum looked lovely, they'd done her hair and even though we could only see her through the window, it was marvellous."

Surprising Dorothy with confetti and a birthday banner, her grandchildren were eager to join in the celebrations. "She's Nanny Bob to the grandkids and her 100th birthday is all they've gone on about for the last two years," she said.

The reunion came following a year of strict lockdown restrictions that have limited contact between families across the country with care home residents.

Carol, who lives in South Wootton, added: "We just wanted to make it as much of an occasion as possible, it is so difficult right now and I haven't had a cuddle with her since October. Mum used to live with us but she had a heart attack and had to move into a home."

She added: "It is very hard especially for those in care homes. They're shut away from everyone and just want to hug their families. The staff at Winchley are so devoted, they just love their residents and go above and beyond to make things as special as possible."

The Lynn News spoke to Dorothy's family ahead of last night's government update, Carol remained hopeful following speculation over the Coronavirus restrictions being relaxed next month.

She said: "Fingers crossed I can go and see mum on March 8 and I can actually hold her hand. We'll still have to wear masks and do a test, but it will be lovely to be able to sit and talk to her. They need that contact with their families and friends, they need that normality."

After the family visited Dorothy, the care home staff and residents had a socially-distanced celebration of their own to mark the occasion.

Gina Reeve, manager at Winchley Home, said: "It was just something that had to happen. 100 is a big celebration and it can be really hard for the families, but everyone coped really well. It was difficult but we did the best we could and Dorothy had a lovely day.

"We have been very strict and we've managed to keep everyone safe, but there is no guarantee and that virus is out there. I can't thank our families enough for being so supportive, we appreciate what they're going through. We're just a big family here, I've been at Winchley for 37 years."

"It's been an emotional rollercoaster but we're very open and we've kept our families informed. We have good days and bad days, it has been very tough, but each care home has their own ways of coping. We just want to keep everyone safe, hopefully things will be changing soon."

Shortly after The Lynn News went to press last night, the prime minister was due to give the latest Coronavirus update.

Dorothy was born in Harpley where she was brought up by her grandparents. As a teenager, she moved to London where she worked as a housemaid before she moved back to Lynn.

She was 19-years-old when she met her late husband, Robert, who worked in the RAF and was stationed at Bircham Newton. The pair were married at Sedgeford Church, but shortly after Robert went to war and the pair were separated for several years.

When Robert returned, the pair were stationed in Egypt during 1953, before returning to the UK. When he retired, the couple moved back to Lynn and lived in a bungalow on the Grange Estate until Robert's death eight years ago. They were married for 71 years.

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