Beds, Herts & Bucks

Coronavirus: 100th birthday party goes on despite lockdown

Doug Gifford Image copyright Sharnbrook Lodge
Image caption Doug Gifford was presented with a telegram from the Queen

A care home was determined to "not let coronavirus stop us" by putting on a 100th birthday bash for a resident to "lift everyone's spirits".

Sharnbrook Lodge, in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, had planned a special celebration for Doug Gifford.

But when the care home went on lockdown on Thursday it had to cancel a singer and a visit from the mayor.

However, the party went on with cake, food and music played through a television screen.

Care assistant Nicky Price said: "It's very sad we couldn't do what we planned, but we've done our best.

"This is one way we could celebrate and lift everyone's spirits a little bit."

Image copyright Sharnbrook Lodge
Image caption Doug Gifford's son Len (left) was the only outside visitor allowed in, but he could pass on a special hamper from the mayor

The centenarian was born in Hackney, London, in 1920 and ran way to sea aged 14.

He is a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He supports Arsenal, has won trophies for ballroom dancing and was a keen bowler, camper and cyclist.

Image copyright Sharnbrook Lodge
Image caption Photos from his life and some of the many trophies Mr Gifford won over the years were on show

Mr Gifford's son Len was allowed in to the home to attend the party.

He said it was "excellent" and was "so pleased they were able to put on a lovely spread".

The 74-year-old admitted it would likely be his last outing for a while, and seeing his father in good spirits opening cards and a telegram from the Queen was worth it.

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