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‘All aboard’ for Centenary Birthday train

Friends of the Elderly’s Care Home Resident Celebrates His 100th Birthday and Reminisces About His Childhood in India and Career on the Railways.

 At Bernard Sunley, the Woking-based nursing and dementia care home run by charity Friends of the Elderly, prior to the sad passing of the charity’s Royal Patron, HM Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the care team made sure resident Cedric Vallint’s 100th Birthday celebrations were ‘just the ticket’ for the British Rail veteran. In the morning, Cedric’s room was decked out to the nines with celebratory 100 balloons and a huge banner, which started his day on the right track.

Cedric, who has been a resident at Bernard Sunley residential care home for nearly a year, was originally born in India and attended the La Martinière School in Kolkata (previously Calcutta); a well-known school which was established in 1836.

After working at the Port of Calcutta, the primary port in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal for 18 years, Cedric moved to England in his early 40s. He made the long journey from India with his late wife, Sheila, his late son Glenn and daughter, Maureen.

When he arrived in England, Cedric worked for British Rail until he retired. However, retirement didn’t suit him as he became rather bored. To rectify this, Cedric took up a job in the local supermarket where he worked for another 20 years.

To celebrate his very special day, first on the 100th birthday ‘ticket’ list was a personal visit from the Priest from St Dunstan’s Catholic Church, which Cedric used to attend. 

Prayers were later said for Cedric at the church’s service, which he watched live in his room.

In the afternoon, the party continued with Cedric’s daughter Maureen visiting, along with her son, her daughter and Cedric’s two great-grandchildren. As a special treat at 3 p.m., Cedric and his family, together with his care home friends were escorted to the garden for delicious birthday cake, canapés and desserts, accompanied by the traditional singing of ‘Happy Birthday to You’. However, it didn’t stop there.

The Bernard Sunley care team arranged for an afternoon of entertainment for the Centenarian, with singer ‘Hannah’ performing a variety of Cedric’s favourite songs, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

Still active at 100-years-old, Cedric likes to keep fit and thoroughly enjoys taking part in all of the care home’s varied activities. “Sports have always been a massive part of my life,” said Cedric. “I love Badminton, Tennis, Rugby and Hockey, plus a little bit of Football. At Bernard Sunley, I really enjoy the board games, especially the memory ones and Scrabble, oh and the arts and crafts sessions too,” he added.

Andy Cumper, the Registered Manager at Bernard Sunley said: “Cedric is a joy to have living with us at Bernard Sunley. He always gets involved with the activities we have going on and especially enjoys the entertainment and an afternoon tea with a hot chocolate.

“Cedric is always keen to try different foods, but his favourites are our Chinese dishes and Indian Sweetmeats, an Indian fruit delicacy. Some varieties are sweeter due the tropical fruit they contain and others more savoury as they include spices such as Saffron and Cardamom.”

Cedric has a real love of cowboy books and western films, a passion which stems from his childhood. “I do enjoy a good, rooting-tooting cowboy film. I’ve never been to America but do love to travel. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Germany, Austria, Australia and, of course, India,” Cedric added.

Cedric’s 100th birthday was on 30th August, so he was thrilled to receive a Happy 100th birthday card from HM The Queen before her extremely sad passing.

 “I had a wonderful 100th Birthday. I’m so very grateful that I received my card from our late Her Majesty The Queen. It is something that I will treasure, forever,” Cedric concluded.

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