Sunderland war veteran celebrates 100th birthday on St George's Day
It was a double St George's Day celebration at a Sunderland care home as a 100th birthday party for a Wearside war veteran coincided with news of a new Royal baby.
Springfield House Care Home in Bunker Hill, Houghton, was hosting a party for centenarian Tom Stainsby and the afternoon gathering went with an extra swing when news of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child being born came through.
June Wilson, the home’s activities coordinator said: “They were all delighted and clapped and cheered and had a toast to the new arrival.”
Tom’s big day was marked as part of the buffet tea party and he also received a card from Queen and a telegram from the Department for Work and Pensions.
War hero Tom was serving as a driver in the Army when he was captured by the Germans during the Second World War and put into Prisoner of War camp in Poland.
His skills were used by its chief officers as he was ordered to drive them round the camp, with his time in the forces also leading him to become fluent in German and Polish.
After the war ended, he became a bus driver, based in Philadelphia, where he met his wife Lillian, who was a conductor on its service - she was also a resident of the home until her death just a few years ago.
He was joined at his party by 10 family members, including two nieces.
June added: “It’s important that we mark St George’s Day.
“It’s been electric, absolutely wonderful and Tom has been enjoying it.
“He’s a real gent.”
The home always marks St George’s Day with this year’s featuring the Doowop Dollies, vintage singers who sing songs from the 1940s and 1950s, followed by the Hylton Ukes, who followed on with tunes from the 1950s and 1960s.
Residents wore red, white and blue, with the women also donning fascinators they had made during a craft session.