104th birthday bash for Kathleen

First World War baby Kathleen Cattermole has celebrated her 104th birthday at her care home in Sandiacre.

A party was held at Longmoor Lodge Care Home, on Longmoor Lane, which staff decorated with birthday bunting, balloons, and flowers.

There was also a buffet tea, homemade chocolate birthday cake, and a live entertainer shown on the home’s big screen TV using videoconferencing software.

Kathleen’s family used the home’s specially designed visitor pod to see her and wish her well on her big day.

Born 1st April 1917 in Long Eaton, Kathleen lived on Cranmer Street, before becoming a clerk at furnituremaker Gimson and Slater at the age of 14. Over the years she rose to chief wage clerk before leaving to raise a family.

Kathleen met her husband-to-be at her aunt’s wedding, where she was a bridesmaid. She married James Frederick William Cattermole in April 1947, at Ilkeston Registry Office.

During the Second World War, she received training on how to put out fires with stirrup pumps, spending her evenings fire watching.

She said: “We had training but never had to put any fires out. We also had two soldiers billeted with us during the War. Everyone had to do their bit.”

Kathleen has always been a keen dancer and used to perform ballroom and sequence dancing at several Nottingham clubs.

She was also a pianist and performed alongside her brother, Harold Mason, who played the violin. She said: “He used to tap me on the head with his bow if I ever went wrong.”

She has two children, daughter Zena and son Cliff, as well as five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Zena recalls fond childhood memories of holidays in Blackpool, where they danced at the Winter Gardens. She also remembers playing tricks on her mother on her birthday, being April Fools Day.

Zena said: “We would play pranks on her every year, like wrapping empty boxes and writing April Fools inside.

“One year, my mother had just planted a new clematis plant. We waited until she closed the curtains the night before her birthday and we went around the garden stapling cardboard flowers all over the fence, so she thought her new plant was flowering. She found it very funny and so did the neighbour.”

Kathleen eventually moved to Longmoor Lodge Care Home in 2013, at the age of 96, and celebrates her centenary years with fellow residents every year.

Sammy Ely, home manager at Longmoor Lodge Care Home, said: “Every year we try to make Kathleen’s big day a special occasion for everyone at the care home.

“104 is an incredible milestone. We’re so pleased her family were able to visit this year in our visitor pod and all our residents were delighted to wish her a happy birthday as well.

“Kathleen had a great time at the party and was smiling all day.

“She has been with us for many years now and everyone at the home loves her to pieces. We feel so honoured to celebrate her birthday with her.”

Nottingham Local News