Two hundred of Sheffield’s centenarians, families and friends and local dignitaries attended an afternoon tea party and dinner dance at the Crowne Plaza Royal Victoria Hotel on 7th October in what is possibly the city’s largest ever gathering of centenarians.
Sheffield-based Westfield Health, a health and wellbeing provider that was founded in the city in 1919 as ‘The Sheffield Hospitals Council’, threw the celebration for local people that share its birthday and to mark 100 years of giving back. Local man Ernest has been dancing his whole life and turned 101 on the day. He was joined by two fellow centenarians and centenarian-to-be Hilda who turns 100 in January, along with other Sheffield dwellers in their 80s and 90s.
Local dignitaries in attendance included the Lord Mayor & Mayoress of Sheffield Tony and Val Downing, the late MP Jo Cox’s parents Gordon and Jean Leadbetter, High Sheriff of South Yorkshire John Pickering, Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Andrew Coombe, flypast honouree Tony Foulds, Sheffield’s oldest surviving veteran Cyril Elliott and previous Lord Mayor Diane Fox.
Attendees enjoyed entertainment from Susan St Nicholas, who sang classic hits from the era, and took part in a traditional dinner dance before being served afternoon tea.
Tony Foulds, 83, who has lived in Sheffield all of his life and was featured on national news recently for his involvement in the Sheffield flypast, explained his secret to living a happy life is always smiling, “It’s always been my main thing. My dad always had an old saying, smile and the world smiles with you and it’s true, I’ve always been mischievous and I’ve always been happy. I don’t remember ever being down in the dumps! The 70s and 80s were my favourite times in Sheffield, I was a rocker with a motorbike!
“The city has changed so much but I’ve always known about Westfield Health, it’s a massive part of Sheffield and a smashing organisation for the city and its involvement in charity.”
Westfield Health’s Chairman Graham Moore added, “As we celebrate our hundredth year, we must not forget those people who put us where we are today. Not least those people who have been with us on this journey of 100 years, so it’s entirely fitting that we celebrate with fellow centenarians. And the fact that so many joined us in the Crowne Plaza Royal Victoria Hotel is testament to their longevity and staying power.
“Many of them will have worked through the war and we are inspired by their sacrifice and service, which will act as a catalyst for us further improving our service in the future.”
CEO of Age UK Sheffield, Steve Chu, commented, “Westfield Health has been an incredible partner and support to the work we’re doing in Sheffield for people aged over 50 through an annual grant and working together on events such as this.”
A week prior to its centenarian dinner dance, Westfield Health was officially recognised for 100 years in business by the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce in its President’s Annual Dinner. The prestigious award, which was presented by President Steve Manley and BBC Look North presenter Clare Frisby, was handed to chairman Graham Moore during the dinner at Cutlers Hall and honours the heritage of the health and wellbeing provider in Yorkshire.
Over the past 100 years, Westfield Health has donated over £15million to the NHS and medical charities both in the city and nationally, including funding the installation of 200 defibrillators in Sheffield since 2003 and providing a grant of £250,000 to the Sheffield Helipad Appeal for Northern General Hospital.