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Belfast native Jean enjoys 110th birthday celebration

By Claire McNeilly

Published 28/04/2016

Jean Webster celebrates her birthday
Jean Webster celebrates her birthday
Jean Webster with her mother in 1908

The First and Deputy First Ministers have sent congratulations to a Northern Ireland woman who has reached a remarkable milestone... her 110th birthday.

Jean Webster, who was born in Belfast in 1906, is thought to be the city's oldest daughter - not to mention Northern Ireland's oldest living woman.

In addition to letters from Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness, she also received a birthday card from the Queen, who previously sent her telegrams to mark both her 100th and 105th anniversary, and a missive from Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb.

Mrs Webster, who now dwells in Mill End, near Hambleden in England, celebrated with a party on Sunday at the Henley care home where she lives.

Members of her family were present, as was the Hambleden Women's Institute choir - to which her 77-year-old daughter Maureen Cleary belongs -who sang songs, including Danny Boy and Daisy Bell.

Mrs Cleary said her mother - with whom she lived in Mill End up until she moved into care at Arcadia Lodge in 2014 - was a very happy person.

"She is an amazing character," she said. "She has got 101% resilience and she's very contented. Maybe that's the secret."

Mrs Webster was widowed at the age of 70 when her husband Walter was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1973.

She lived independently in Ramsgate in Kent until the age of 95, when she then moved in with her daughter's family for the next 13 years before going into a nursing home.

She grew up on Glencairn Street off the Ballygomartin Road in north Belfast as one of seven siblings. Her father worked as a riveter for Harland and Wolff.

After she met Walter the couple moved to his home town of Aberdeen and they were married in 1936. They later moved to London, where their only child Maureen was born, after a brief time in Dundee.

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