A Formby resident is celebrating her 107th birthday in style today (Thursday 1 April) with a self-penned poem about her life and reaching such an incredible milestone.
Known fondly as Aunty Marj, Marjorie Hodnett is a resident at New Care’s Formby Manor care centre, located on Liverpool Road in Formby.
Aunty Marj said: “Life is for living and I have enjoyed a long and very happy life, firstly in Devon and now here in Formby where I couldn’t ask for a more lovely team of carers at Formby Manor. I’m very happy to have reached 107 years of age and intend to celebrate with all of my family and friends with a super day to remember. And I couldn’t let the moment go by without one of my poems which I will read to everyone on my big day.”
You can read her poem in full at the bottom of this article.
A real character and very much part of the home’s wonderful family of staff and residents, she is still incredibly alert and active and continues to pursue her lifelong passions of poetry writing and painting.
Lockdown hasn’t dampened Aunty Marj’s enthusiasm for marking this momentous occasion and she will enjoy a day to remember filled with laughter, fun and visits from family and friends.
Home manager at Formby Manor, Debra Roose, said: “We’ve spoken to the team at Sefton Advocacy’s Older Person’s Forum in Formby and Southport and they have confirmed that they don’t know of anyone older that our wonderful Aunty Marj. Given that she is officially the oldest person in the local area, and is so keen to celebrate, we are pulling out all the stops to ensure the day is exactly what she wants.
“The local community has been so kind. We sent out a request on the Formby Bubble for birthday cards for Aunty Marj and these continue to flood in. Also the children from Halsall Church of England School in Halsall, near Ormskirk, have designed individual cards which their teacher very kindly delivered.
“We have decorated a gazebo with banners and balloons kindly donated by TTI Treasures to enable Aunt Marj to receive staggered visits throughout the day from family and friends safely in line with current guidelines and will be celebrating with strawberries and champagne. The grand finale will be everyone coming together to sing happy birthday and enjoy cake before Aunty Marj reads her poem to us.”
Aunt Marj has enjoyed a long and happy life. She was born in Harleston, London, before moving to Wembley. She met her first husband Stanley in 1939 at the Fellowship of Reconciliation and they married in 1941, living initially in Wembley before moving to Harrow after the war. Sadly, Stanley passed away in 1955 after 14 years of marriage, and in the following year Aunty Marj married Hugh (Stanley’s brother) who passed away in 1958 leaving Aunty Marj widowed for the second time at the age of 45.
Just before Hugh passed away, the couple had moved to Sidbury in Devon in 1956 where Aunty Marj was the school teacher of a reception class for 23 years. Finally, Aunt Marj moved to Formby Manor to be nearer to her family and her niece Maggie and her great niece Katie are now regular visitors to Formby Manor. She has remained very active continuing to read, write poetry and paint and continues to take an interest in news and politics with her overriding motto being “look forward with hope and not backward with regret.”
I did not expect to reach 107,
Nor living in Formby and not in Devon.
Living there was like living in heaven,
My room looked out on a wonderful view,
I was never short of something to do.
First there was croquet and then there was cricket,
The groundsmen had to preserve a good wicket.
Minor counties came here to play,
I could see the sea and the cliffs every day.
Now in the Manor, I lie in bed,
And look at the building, half white and half red.
Each day I am hoisted into my wheelchair,
I am helped all the time by people who care.
Sometimes we join a cookery club,
And given what’s needed to make tasty grub.
Sometimes we do singing and in our heads,
the tunes keep ringing.
Other times we do exercise, that helps you exercise your thighs!
Formby Manor really are a caring crew
Always finding us things to do.