Rena celebrates her 105th
Caring Times, February 2014
Rena Daniels, a resident of who has lived at Sanctuary Housing’s Shaftesbury House care home in Ipswich celebrated turning 105 at a party with family, friends, fellow residents and the care home team in December.
On the day Rena, who has her own iPad which she loves using, also received birthday wishes from friends and family in Australia via e-mail.
Born in 1908 – when King Edward VII was on the throne – Sanctuary Care home resident and web-wizard Rena Daniels has lived at Shaftesbury House residential care home in Ipswich since June 2012.
On 5 December 1908 Rena Meyrick Ismay Graham was born to Robert Graham, a farmer’s son and draper, and Lillian Graham, a milliner. Rena spent her early childhood in Cumbria with her parents and four brothers on the family farm
“I have lots of marvellous memories of my childhood growing up on the farm,” said Rena.
“We had our own pony that I remember my father teaching me to ride.”
Rena attended school until the age of 14, before working as a nanny. Aged 17, with the help of one of her employers, Rena trained as a nurse in Galashiels, Selkirkshire before working as a fever nurse in Edinburgh and Glasgow. She then undertook her general nurse training in Ipswich, Suffolk during the 1930s.
It was in Ipswich on a night out at the Hippodrome Theatre with her fellow nurses that Rena met Jack Daniels, a musician who was playing the double bass in a theatre show. Rena and Jack fell in love and married at St Margaret’s Church in Luton, London, on 4 December 1937, before settling in York for the next ten years where they had two daughters together, Judy and Suzie.
Asked the secret to reaching such a fantastic age, Rena said: “I suppose I could put it down to having a busy, happy life, enjoying time with family and watching my daughters grow up. Also, no swearing, smoking or drinking – and having a good husband (who only swore occasionally)!
” Since returning to Ipswich in 1950, Rena has always been an active member of the community, as a member of the Ipswich Mother’s Union, canvasser for the Conservative Party and a Samaritan at St Stephen’s Church. She attended Keep Fit classes at the town hall until the age of 93.
Most recently, Rena’s new favourite hobby is surfing the internet when she feels up to it. Rena became a web-wizard after undertaking an IT training course at the Community Volunteers Centre in Princes Street in 2011. Rena now has her own iPad which she uses to send e-mails and occasionally Skype friends and family living in Australia. Speaking of her love for email, Rena said: “It’s great to use my iPad to get in touch with family who live far away, you can let them know things that have happened quickly. It’s marvellous, wonderful!” On her 105th birthday, Rena was joined by both her daughters, her two grandsons Christopher and Timothy, five great-grandchildren and her great-great-grandson Oliver who is 9 months old.