Carers at Stamford Bupa Care Home in Edmonton have asked members of the community to send in 100 birthday cards to surprise a one-of-a-kind resident, Winnie Elkins, on her 100th birthday.
Winnie, who did remarkable work at Bletchley Park throughout World War II, is set to reach centenarian status on the 27th May, and the care home team hope to present her with as many birthday cards as possible from the local community to make it a day to remember.
Winnie is set to celebrate at The King’s Head in Chingford for a special birthday lunch with her extended family, including her two nieces and nephew. The birthday celebrations will then continue with a tea party at Stamford Bupa Care Home on the following Sunday, with the care home team providing platters of sandwiches, pastries and cakes for the residents.
When asked about her forthcoming milestone birthday, Winnie commented: “I am very excited to turn 100 years old. I’ve seen a lot in my time and had a lot of birthdays, so it seems a bit surreal to be reaching such a big milestone. I’m sure that the Stamford Bupa care home team will make the day special, and I can’t think of a better way to spend the day than surrounded by my nearest and dearest.”
Winnie, who was born in Cologne when her father was stationed there in the aftermath of World War I, was called up in 1942 to play a vital role in the war effort. Winnie was given the choice of two jobs, one of which was working at Bletchley Park and helping to decipher morse code messages sent by the German forces. Winnie commented: “The choice was simple. I went to Bletchley Park.”
Whilst at Bletchley Park, Winnie worked tirelessly to help the war effort and took on a lot of responsibility. When the war ended, Winnie had to sign the Official Secrets Act and was told to ‘forget everything she heard and saw.’ After the war, Winnie returned to her work at the Gas Board in Woodall House in Wood Green, working on punch cards and early computers, and retired in 1982 after 44 years of service.
Outside of her work, Winnie was a keen leader in the local girl guiding community, starting as ‘Brown Owl’ for the 11th Muswell Hill unit and 3rd Crouch End unit, before taking on roles such as Divisional Commissioner and Trefoil Guild Adviser to the London North East region.
Winnie also enjoyed a close relationship with her late sister, Margaret, and they spent time travelling across Canada, Germany, Australia and India together. They also had a shared passion in faith, with both Margaret and Winnie receiving the Benemerenti Medal in 1986– a medal awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for service to the Catholic Church.
Bozena Michalska, activities coordinator at Stamford Bupa Care Home, commented: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate this incredible milestone with Winnie. She is one extraordinary lady, so we want to make her birthday just as special as she is. We are hopeful that she will receive lots of lovely cards that will make her day as memorable as possible.”
Anyone wishing to send Winnie a birthday card can post one to Stamford Bupa Care Home, 21 Watermill Lane, Edmonton, London N18 1SH.
Stamford Bupa Care Home is situated in Edmonton and welcomes residents in need of nursing or residential care, including those living with Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and late-stage dementia. For further information, please visit https://www.bupa.co.uk/care-services