'Make the best of everything you have': Newport theatre stalwart Pat's cosy 101st birthday celebrations

A woman who adopted Shropshire as her home and has never touched a drop of alcohol has celebrated her 101st birthday at home.

Pat Waites still lives in her Newport house and is often visited by her sons Paul and David.

In her younger days, Pat was a theatre fanatic, playing active roles in Newport's Nova Theatre Club, the Wellington Theatre Group and a Stafford operatics group.

One year at the Newport Agricultural Show she played Queen Victoria, being paraded around the show field for a centenary celebration.

A devout Christian, she has never drank – though she did allow herself some sweet treats for her big day.

Pat said: "When you get to my age you look forward to every day! I never thought I would get this far.

"I enjoy every birthday because they never come back.

"I was born in Stafford, in a house I don't think is there anymore, next to St Mary's Church."

Pat Waites of Newport celebrates her 101st birthday, on the same day as her son Paul's 70th

She worked as a clerk for Burgess' ironmongers, where she met her future husband Leslie Waites ("He came and asked me out, and that was how it all started!"). They were married soon after, on January 6, 1940, at St Patrick's Church Stafford.

"I wouldn't change that day for the world," said Pat. "We were married 67 years."

Paul and David were born (Paul shares his birthday with his mother), and the family moved to Newport in 1954 after Leslie's career at Burgess' took him to St Mary's Street.

Meanwhile Pat worked at the office at Aston's garage. The couple were both keen dancers and enjoyed Sunday dances together.

They enjoyed 67 years of happy marriage before Leslie died in 2007.

Pat had taken to life in Newport, playing an active role in the Newport Townswomen's Guild and still lives in her own home, though she is visited by carers a few times a day.

'Make the best of everything you have'

"I like Newport, it's very nice. I've always liked it. Of course it's changed, like all places have – that's progress, you can't do anything about it.

"I did quite a few roles for [Nova Theatre Club], I was game for anything."

For her 101st birthday celebrations, her visitors had to be mindful of coronavirus social distancing restrictions.

On the pandemic, Pat said: "It's terrible, it really is. It makes you wonder whether it will ever end. You just hope and pray that it will."

She had no shortage of cards and flowers, and a number of well-wishers dropped in over the course of her birthday including her carers.

"They're very good, they look after me very well.

"I can't give you a recipe [for long life] because I don't have one! Just make the best of everything you have."

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