Family will do their best to make Wilkie’s 100th birthday special

When Margaret Wilkinson’s family had to celebrate her 99th birthday at a distance last year, they reassured themselves that come her 100th year things would be different.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 2:44 pm
Margaret Wilkinson will be 100 on Friday

However, it’s going to be a case of deja vu when the great grandmother from Cookstown, know to many as Wilkie, reaches her milestone birthday on Friday.

Her granddaughter Kelda said: “She hasn’t been out the front door of the nursing home since last February. They locked down before the country locked down, visiting stopped.

“The News Letter ran a story for her 99th birthday, little did I think that when her 100th birthday came around that she would still be in lockdown.”

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She continued: “We haven’t seen very much of her. For a long time there was no visiting in the home, they now have a room sectioned off where you can make an appointment to come in to see her every couple of weeks for half an hour behind a screen. It’s better than nothing.

“She’s got a lovely new wee grandson and she’ll be meeting him this week. He was born in November.”

Kelda said: “She’s had both her vaccines. Her first vaccine was the weekend before Christmas, the second one was three weeks later. She’s kept very well. The nursing home has done very well, there’s been very few cases of Covid.”

Of the plans to mark the occasion of her 100th birthday, Kelda said: “My granda was in a pipe band many years ago. My granny loves pipes. The care home has organised for a piper to come and play for her on Friday night. We’re allowed to stand out the front and watch, we’ll all be socially distanced.

“The minister and the canon from Derryloran Parish Church, they’re coming as well. I’ve also organised an ice cream van but I might have to cancel that if it snows again.

“We’re so thankful that she’ll be fit to come down to the ground floor and we’ll be fit to come and see her. It’ll be lovely.”

Margaret has been a resident at Weavers Care Home in Cookstown for the past six years.

She is the eldest of six children, born and raised in Drumshambo, outside Cookstown. Her one remaining sibling – Willie, died in October.

In her younger days Margaret worked in Belfast, making hats, and also in Nestles Milk Factory in Omagh.

She cycled between Cookstown and Omagh when she worked in Nestles, leaving home on a Sunday evening and staying over until closing time on Friday.

Margaret and her husband Billy, who passed away just after her 60th birthday, had one child – Audrey, who is Kelda’s mother.

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