Street Party As Ivy Celebrates 100th Birthday

Has spent her whole life living in the same Chiswick street


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Chiswick centenarian Ivy Parker celebrated her birthday in style- opening her card from the Queen and with a street party organised by her neighbours.

A giant cake baked by the Shepherd's Bush Housing Association-she is their oldest resident- was also presented to Ivy along with a bottle of her favourite brandy from her friends in Binns Road.

Ivy's son Raymond, attended the party as did  her grandsons, two great-grandsons and one great-granddaughter. She described her day as "wonderful" and said she wanted to thank her neighbours for arranging the party, which was held in glorious sunshine, with Ivy receiving wellwishers under the gazebo.

Ivy was born in Chiswick on August 29th, 1914 and has lived in Binn's Road for all her life. She had two sisters and one brother, and started her working life at the age of fourteen at the Cherry Blossom shoe polish factory.

"I had to fill the tins with liquid polish which were then cooled off. When I got married at twenty-two I had to leave the job as that was what you did in those days. I was sorry to go but then during the war they recalled old employees and I volunteered to go and worked the night shift for two years."

Ivy with her cake to celebrate her 100th birthday

Ivy was a New Year bride in 1936, marrying at St Mary's Church, Goldhawk Road and staying in Binns Road with her husband who was a car mechanic. He worked with De Beers for several years servicing cars until he retired. The couple were married nearly sixty years when he died.

Ivy has seen lots of changes in Chiswick over the years and recalls that she once knew every family, not only in Binns Road but all the nearby streets. However, she says her neighbours have been very good to her and she is always ready for a chat. Asked what her secret was for a long life Ivy commented: "I was always a happy person, and I had a happy marriage and cared for my family. My son was born on the same date as his father, November 29th- and that was a great celebration."

Frances and husband Jim who helped organise the party and bbq

Neighbour Frances of Binns Terrace says Ivy is "an amazing lady-she puts everyone to shame with her knowledge of Chiswick and has a fantastic memory."

Another neighbour Emmy says :"She has helped so many people - Ivy is always cheerful and ready for a laugh "

Susie Hilton recalled that Ivy was very good at knitting- she used to knit for a hospital premature baby unit but has recently stopped due to failing eyesight.

"One lady at the street party told me how she worked with Ivy from the age of 15 years at the Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish factory just up the road.  When this lady got married and then left to have her baby, Ivy had knitted her a beautiful blanket for her to take her baby home from hospital with. This lady arrived at the street party with her husband, daughter, son in law, and granddaughter and grandson with the said blanket!  This has now been passed down through their family and used for when the grandchildren came along!

"Ivy will always wave and want to stop for a chat.  She always wants to know how you are.  She's knitted me gloves for Christmas but best of all she has such a good heart and cares about everyone."

Ivy and son Raymond arrive

Well over 100 people attended the street party on Sunday ( August 31) with some people travelling over 100 miles. The road was closed and Ivy took centre stage under the gazebo as wellwishers arrived.  The party was organised by neighbours Frances and Lyne with Jim as the BBQ king keeping everyone well fed.

Ivy with two of the younger members of the family

The tradition of sending a card to centenarians was first practiced in 1908 when the Secretary for Kind Edward VII sent one to the Rev Thomas Lord of Horncastle to congratulate him on the attainment of his hundredth year- the practice was formalized in 1917 under the reign of King George V.

In the United States, centenarians receive a letter from the President while Irish people who celebrate their hundredth birthday receive a Centenarians' Bounty of 2,540 euro from the President of Ireland, even if they are resident abroad.



September 3, 2014

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