Ongo celebrates Older Person’s Day

Ongo celebrates Older Person’s Day

October 1 marks International Day of Older Persons and to celebrate Ongo met with two of their oldest tenants, Ethel and Mary, to highlight their huge achievement and find out a bit more about them.

International Day of Older Persons was created by the United Nations to celebrate older people, the contribution they’ve made to society and to promote health, prevention, and treatment of illnesses.

Its importance has increased as people are now living longer, and we have a greater aging population.

Ethel Ashley

Ethel is 102 years old and has been a tenant since 1991 (over 30 years).

What’s your secret to a long and successful life?

I have no secret, just live life as best you can every day, look after your loved ones and enjoy it.

What’s a big historic event you’ve seen or been a part of?

There are too many to mention. I’ve always taken part in all I can, joined in and been social. I’ve had good friends who look after me, and I look after them in return.

I do reflect upon the war, where we all had a part to play and mucked in. Whilst my sisters were sent to ammunition factories and my brother went off to the frontline, I did land work and got to stay at home. I was lucky.

What’s your favourite hobby, pastime, or thing to do?

Nowadays I love to watch football on the TV, it’s where you’ll find me most days. My team is Liverpool and when I turned 100, Jamie Carragher (a team legend) sent me a very special birthday message.

What’s it been like in your community through the years?

My mum was the local midwife, so she got to see children from the start of their life up until becoming adults. She helped to set up the Women’s Institute (WI) in our village which supported so many; helping to get electricity to the village, setting up social events and really bringing us all together. It kept us all going through the war.

She was a member for over 60 years, and from the incredible work she did, Sarah Gaunt Gardens was named after her. I am so honoured that I get to live here and I’m so proud she was my mum.

I joined the WI when I was just 14 and stayed until it ended, keeping mums’ legacy alive for many years, you just helped each other out, looked after your neighbours and did good.

I remember back then, our WI group would enter competitions at different shows, like the one at Winterton. My plum bread was famous, so I used to win and some of the other locals baker didn’t like it, it was very competitive you see.

What’s your proudest achievement in life?

My family. I had a wonderful husband and daughter, and now my granddaughter looks after me a lot.

I also feel like through the WI, we really made a difference and I’m proud of that.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

I’d say get a good job, join in and help out in every way you can.

Mary Spray

Mary is 101 years old and has been a tenant since 1981 (over 40 years).

What’s your secret to a long and successful life?

It’s simple. Eat well, sleep well and I have never taken tablets for anything. I can’t remember the last time I visited my doctor. He comes out to give me my annual vaccination jabs but that’s about it.

What’s a big historic event you’ve seen or been a part of?

I must mention the war. I lived in Sheffield at the time and remember seeing the bombs being dropped, it was astonishing really. When I think about it, I can still feel myself stood there.

I was an ambulance driver all through the blitz from the age of 17. I did my bit, as we all did.

What’s your favourite hobby, pastime, or thing to do?

It used to be dancing, Harold (my husband) and I loved to go. When we moved to Scunthorpe it was Mill Road Club in Ashby, sometimes three times a week.

I loved holidays with Harold. He was lovely, he’d always surprise me with trips, leaving a brochure on the table for me to find and get excited. My favourite place was Malta, I even went alone after Harold passed away.

I’m a big sports fan too, if you come round to visit you can expect a nice cup of tea, a biscuit and the sports channel on. I used to go to football games a lot and had a season ticket, often taking the children too.

What’s it been like in your community through the years?

After meeting my husband Harold we moved down south but I always missed being up north, so when a transfer came up in Scunthorpe we took it. I find there’s better people, nicer communities, and a better way of life.

I remember Harold and I walking past this bungalow when it was being built and we said how much we’d love to live here. I called up the council at the time and we were so lucky that everything fell into place. We moved in and I’ve stayed ever since.

It’s a lovely community and I have great neighbours; Georgie and John, who look out for me, mowing my lawn, chatting away and checking in from time to time.

As I’ve got older, renting an Ongo home has given me so much security. I’m too old now to carry out work, so being able to call and get my repairs done takes the worry away and anyone I speak to is always so accommodating.

What’s your proudest achievement in life?

My family are definitely my proudest achievement, they always look out for me. My daughter takes me out to do my shopping and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren keep me young. They held a celebration for me when I turned 100 and it was delightful to get together.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m very lucky, I’ve had a wonderful, long life and I always tell my loved ones not to mourn me when I’m no longer here, to celebrate the time we shared and memories we made.

To find out more about Ongo, their homes or the support they offer, follow them on social media or head to their website: www.ongo.co.uk.

 

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