A resident at RMBI Care Co. Home Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court in Porthcawl has celebrated her 100th birthday.
Sylvia Pike enjoyed a big party at the Home with her family and friends. She was presented with a birthday cake, whilst everyone sang Happy Birthday!
She was delighted to receive official birthday cards from Her Majesty the Queen and from First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford.
Sylvia was born on the 4th of January 1920 in Pontygwaith in the Rhondda. She was the first child of Norman, a collier originally from the West Country, and Beatrice, who was a local girl.
Sylvia had two sisters and a brother. Sadly, they died at a young age from tuberculosis and tragically her mother died from the same disease when Sylvia was just 14.
Sylvia recalls how poor people were in the mining valleys, but her family didn’t go hungry because her father kept pigs and grew vegetables.
On leaving school, Sylvia worked as a cashier and book-keeper in Pegler’s, a grocery store. She was known for her accuracy in the days before calculators.
Sylvia later met her husband Ron at a dance and they married in 1941. Sadly, Ron passed away in 2017, aged 100.
During the Second World War, Ron was a medical auxiliary in The RAF and when he was posted to Medicine Hat in Canada, Sylvia went with him.
The couple later returned to Wales, settling in Tondu. Sylvia worked as a seamstress in Bridgend. She recalls that much of her work involved dealing with American servicemen who wanted alterations to their uniforms. She found them very polite and was surprised and pleased to be addressed by them as “Ma’am”.
Sylvia and Ron had two children, Lynn and Steven. Daughter Lynn describes her mum as an excellent cook, who sewed and knitted all their children’s clothes.
Porthcawl has always been special to Sylvia and her family, enjoying many family holidays there, so in 2013 it felt like the obvious place for them to retire to.
Sylvia, who still enjoys knitting and watching the bowls, says that her secret to reaching 100 is: “clean living” and “not overindulging”. She also says that “feeling content at the Home has helped”, adding: “I’ve never had so many friends!”
Hannah Hutchinson and Mandy Kilpatrick-Evans, Activities Coordinators at Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court, said: “Sylvia is a really special lady. She is a tonic to be with and our Home is proud to have helped her to celebrate her 100th birthday. Sylvia keeps telling everyone how kind they are to her, but if you knew her you would realise it is so easy to be kind to her – she is a gem.”