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“Wonderful” Bessie celebrates 104th birthday under lockdown

A “wonderful” woman who was born at the height of the First World War has celebrated her 104th birthday under lockdown in a care home.

Mrs Martha Elizabeth Hughes, who is known universally as Bessie, lived all her life in Brymbo, near Wrexham, until she was 101.

Bessie Hughes with Wyn Evans , BBC Radio Wales on her 100th Birthday August 2016.

The year before tenor Wynne Evans, who plays Gio Compario in the Go Compare TV ads, went to her home to do an interview for his Radio Wales show on her 100th birthday.

But she moved to Pendine Park’s Hillbury Care Home after fracturing her hip in a fall due to failing eyesight.

Bessie Hughes celebrated her 104th Birthday at Hillbury, Wrexham on Saturday.

Members of the family joined residents and staff for tea and cakes at a socially distanced celebration to wish happy birthday to Bessie who was widowed 40 years ago and is now also living with dementia.

It was a joyous occasion for her nephew Tony Williams, who will turn 85 next month and hadn’t previously been able to visit because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “She has had as remarkable life and to reach the age of 104 is amazing.”

“Right up to moving into Hillbury she was living at home and was very independent and always out getting her hair done, visiting friends or doing her shopping. She was also a keen member of Brymbo Luncheon Club.

Copy pic of Bessie with her Father in Rhyl.

Tony says Bessie was Brymbo born and bred and she was married to Raymond Hughes, a crane driver at Brymbo Steelworks.

He said: “Although she never had children, she has seven nephews and nieces and numerous great and great great nephews and nieces.

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“Most live in and around Brymbo so she always had lots of visitors. Until the pandemic we were all able to visit her at Hillbury House. She likes it there and is very well cared for.

Emma Roberts, Bessie’s great, great niece, who also lives in Brymbo and works as an admin assistant at Pendine’s in-house training centre, the Pendine Academy of social care, in  Wrexham, added: “She is head of around six generations of her extended family and we all love her a great deal.”

Hillbury Cindy Clutton described Bessie as a “wonderful lady”.

She said: “She only came to us in 2017 at 101 years young, after leaving hospital following treatment for her hip fracture. She’s settled in so well and has always been popular with both residents and staff.

“It’s a great privilege to care for someone with so much experience of life across the generations.

Bessie has been a stalwart in her community and clearly was hugely respected, the Pendine community is no different and we have deep respect for Bessie and her ongoing contribution to her life well lived and enriching the lives of us all at Hillbury.”

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