A resident whose husband was killed in action during WWII, and who later raised money for Royal Star & Garter, has celebrated her 102nd birthday at the charity’s Home in High Wycombe.
Ena Mitchell enjoyed a socially-distanced party thrown by the Hughenden Avenue care home, with staff and fellow residents helping her to mark the special day.
Ena loves Indian food so she and the other residents were treated to a curry lunch, courtesy of Royal Star & Garter.
Later, they tucked into cake and sipped bubbly, before the Home presented Ena with a bouquet of flowers. She also received a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.
Ena was born on 30 September 1918, six weeks before WWI ended, in Kingsley, Hampshire, and was the eldest of five children.
She married Bill, a soldier who served in the East Yorkshire Regiment, in 1939. He was one of the 330,000 troops successfully evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, and four years later took part in the D-Day landings on 6 June, the date of his 33rd birthday. Bill survived the offensive, but later that year, on 13 September, was killed in Belgium when the Bren gun carrier he was travelling in to fetch supplies for his unit was bombed. Ena and Bill’s daughter was just two at the time.
Later, Ena started fighting for the rights of the women who had lost husbands during the war, and joined the War Widows’ Association (WWA).
She began raising money for Royal Star & Garter after visiting its iconic former Richmond Hill Home in the 1970s through her work with the WWA. Over the next five decades, she would raise thousands for the charity, often asking for donations to Royal Star & Garter each birthday, instead of presents. Her last birthday collection raised around £1,000.
Ena, a great grandmother, said: “I’ve had such a lovely day. The Home is splendid and the staff are wonderful. They always make you feel special, but I felt extra special today.”
Royal Star & Garter provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.
The High Wycombe Home is once again welcoming new residents. Please visit https://starandgarter.org/our-homes-and-care/high-wycombe/ or call 01494 927 555 to find out more.
The charity also has Homes in Solihull and Surbiton.