Great grandmother celebrates 100th birthday

jpco 2-7-14 100th birthday party for Helen Brown (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-140630-151957001
jpco 2-7-14 100th birthday party for Helen Brown (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-140630-151957001

A great grandmother was joined by family and friends from across the world to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Helen Brown, of Mason Road, Tilgate, celebrated her milestone in St Mary’s Church, Wakehurst Drive, Southgate, on Sunday (June 29).

Her daughter-in-law, Angela Brown, 70, of Petts Wood, said: “I was just amazed to see it.

“This was probably the one and only occasion where we were all together.”

Angela said Helen joined the church more than 40 years ago.

Around 80 people attended, including members of the congregation and the Mayor of Crawley, Cllr Brenda Smith.

Angela said: “She’s got a 100 years of conversation.

“She gave a little speech after the Mayor - even though she is 100 she’s got plenty to say, she really enjoyed it.

Helen’s two children, nine grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren attended the event.

The youngest great grandchild, Nancy, is eight months old.

Helen’s son Tom, 75, travelled from Australia with his daughter and 16-year-old grandson Che for his mum’s 100th.

Tom was named after his father, who passed away some 30 years ago.

Tom named his daughter Helen after her grandmother.

Angela said: “Obviously, the most special guests were the ones she hardly ever sees, the ones from Australia - that was really really good.”

She added Helen flew to Australia on her own five years ago to visit her son’s family.

Angela said: “I cannot believe it even now. She stayed there for three or four weeks.”

Helen received a letter from The Queen congratulating her for reaching her 100th birthday.

Angela said: “It meant a lot, she had been asking about it all of this year.

“We’re going to frame it for her.”

Helen’s great grandchildren played music for her at the party.

Alice, 18, sang and played the guitar. She was followed a duet by her younger siblings Lucy, 13, on the flute, and Sam, ten, on the piano.

Another of her great grandchildren made a digital photo slideshow of Helen’s life which was played on a projector in the church.

Members of the congregation sang songs from musicals Helen chose.

Angela said: “They filled the church with music. It’s a big church.”

Angela said Helen’s secret to a long life was that she ate healthily and was happy to accept her life circumstances.