A Peckham woman celebrated her 100th birthday this month with the Mayor of Southwark making a special appearance.
Gladys Williams was born on May 4, 1918, on Meeting House Lane in Peckham, during World War One, and is now one of an estimated 15,000 centenarians living in the UK.
At her birthday party in Darwin Court, Gladys reminisced about her career working as an insurance clerk for many years, and her much-missed husband Frank, with whom she lived on Naylor Road in Peckham.
Gladys is still active and can walk unaided, but her sight is much diminished. She enjoys attending a blind social club and going on outings with volunteers.
Cllr Charlie Smith, Mayor of Southwark, said: “One of the loveliest things about being Mayor is that I get the opportunity to meet such wonderful older people like Gladys. I’m delighted to have been invited to her 100th birthday party at Darwin Court to wish her a happy birthday, not just on behalf of myself, but on behalf of all residents in Southwark. I’m very happy for Gladys and for the Peabody staff who organised such a terrific event.”
Gladys’ friend and fellow resident Sheila Millward said “Gladys has always been an inspiration to me.
“I don’t think she swims so much now as unfortunately her sight has almost gone, but I remember seeing her go up and down the pool every day.
“She is still amazingly active and I’m so happy there’s this celebration for her. She looks a million dollars.”
Another friend Kathy McDougall, added: “Gladys and I both moved in to Darwin Court when it opened in 2003.
“We always used to go on do’s together, dancing and whatnot.
“I’ve genuinely never heard her complain about anything in all the years I’ve known her.
“She is a lovely, wonderful person and it’s a privilege to know her.”
Darwin Court is a Peabody-owned supported housing block.
Claire Woodcock, Older Person’s Housing & Support Manager at Peabody, said: “It really was a pleasure to organise and host a 100th birthday party for Gladys.
“We recognise it is such a milestone to reach this age, and Gladys continues to set an example to us all – still fit, healthy and glowing! I hope that we can host many more ‘100 year’ parties for our residents and to give something back to a generation who long deserve this recognition.”