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Community celebrate new centenarian

Community celebrate new centenarian

March 26, 2020

Residents of a close community in Lisburn joined at a social distance, to celebrate the 100th birthday of Billy Reid today.

The plans his family had in mind changed at a rapid pace because of the coronavirus pandemic.  However, that did not stop them marking this milestone for Billy Reid, as a birthday party became a ‘Happy Birthday Sing Along’.

Close family members who are carers for Billy and his partner called in with presents and a Piper to play some tunes from outside the home. 

Speaking about his birthday Billy said: “I experienced the celebrations at the end of World War Two but that was not as memorable as this heartfelt community celebration for my birthday during another global battle, this time with a virus instead of munitions.  I am privileged to have a long and healthy life and this has meant that today I got a telegram from Her Majesty the Queen and a nice cheque from the Irish President. 

“My experiences in life have contributed to keeping me healthy and active.  After school, I joined the RAF and was redeployed to Gozo during World War Two.  My willingness to serve continued as I trained as butcher at the end of my military service; and had the pleasure to work and meet many people in the York Street Co-op where I worked.  It was here that I met my late wife Mabel and after our wedding, we moved to Lisburn to raise our son Peter.

“Hobbies are important to have and in my younger days I enjoyed going to the Dance Halls and asking the ladies to dance, and them saying ‘Are You Asking?’(chuckle).  Whilst we have no plans to alter our bin or box collection service, it is likely this may be subject to change when staff resources are enjoy fishing, the odd game of bowls and playing the harmonica. 

“Meeting my partner Sheila Elliot gave me a new lease of life after living as a widower and I gained an extended family.  As a couple, we head to Foxford in Co. Mayo and I enjoy painting with my treasured friend and artist Harry Feeney.  We are all a close family and as Sheila and I are 87 and 100 respectively the next two generations of the family take great care of us.  I would like to thank them for all they do and arranging this surprise for me today.”

Billy’s tip to a long life is one cod liver oil tablet, one Vitamin C tablet and the odd half pint of Guinness and glass of wine.

The Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Alan Givan wishing Bill Happy 100th Birthday said: “On behalf of the council I would say well done Billy on becoming a Centenarian.  It is fantastic to know that the local community can still safely come together in the current situation to make what is an amazing milestone.  I wish you many more happy and healthy years Billy.”