Family celebrate 100th birthday

At the back from left are, Paul Plummer, Simon Perkins, Patricia Wainwright, Richard Perkins, John Wainwright and Stephen Plummer. In front, are Jani Plummer and Phyllis Plummer.

Phyllis Plummer’s family travelled from far to celebrate her 100th birthday with her at the Helen Keller Society on Monday April 15.

Ms Plummer spent the morning with her family, friends and staff at the society, as they enjoyed a cup of tea and treats.

Ms Plummer was born and raised in Uitenhage but went to London at the age of 19, to train as a nurse. It was during this time that World War 2 broke out and she was forced to stay in London. It was here where she met her husband Samuel and they married in 1941.

One year later, the couple gave birth to their first daughter, Patricia. Once the war was over in 1946, the family moved back to Uitenhage to care for Ms Plummer’s grandmother.

The couple later gave birth to another daughter, Margaret and son, Peter. Mr Plummer died in 1941 and Ms Plummer never remarried.

Her daughter, Patricia Wainwright, flew down from Canada to celebrate the day with her mother. She said her mother had two families – theirs and her family at Helen Keller. She thanked the staff for caring for her mother over the years.

Ms Plummer has been at the Helen Keller Society for 12 years. Ms Wainwright said while her mother never pursued a career in nursing, she was always caring for people. “If she knew someone was sick, she would go around and take care of them – that is just the type of person she is,” she said.

Ms Wainwright said her mother taught her to express her gratitude and always showed her appreciation with food or special gifts or treats which she would make. “My mother liked to give,” she said.

Helen Keller Society chief executive officer John Newton said they were privileged to have experienced a few 100th birthdays at the home, saying it was indeed something to be celebrated. “Ms Plummer has been blessed to see 100 and has lived a full life,” he said.

Ms Plummer’s care-giver for several years, sister Jackie Grieve, said she fit in seemingly when she first came to the home.

She cared for Ms Plummer until she went to the frail care section a few years ago but said they had kept in touch.