A CENTENARIAN with a kind heart has celebrated a milestone birthday with family and friends. 

Gladys Spackman, of Witham, has just turned 100. 

She was joined by dozens of well-wishers at Parkview care home to herald her milestone birthday in style. The centenarian was presented with balloons and cake before being charmed by some crooning from an Elvis Presley tribute act.

Gladys said: “It was marvellous. I sat here and Elvis came and we had a chat and a show going on. I came with my daughter. 

“I was born in Cardiff, in 1919. I grew up in Ely. It was very good actually. 

“There were six of us children and we didn’t have much.

“I worked for a newspaper in the office, on the phone to people. I worked there from 15 and I was 47 when I left.”

In 1941, Gladys married her childhood sweetheart Windsor Spackman, who died in 2015 at the age of 97. 

The pair met when Gladys was 13 and Windsor was 17. They raised a daughter, Dianne Arnold, who has lived in Maldon for 19 years. 

After spending most of her life in Ely, Cardiff, Gladys moved to Doncaster in 1987 to be closer to Dianne, before moving into an annexe at Dianne’s house in 2012 and finally moving to Parkview care home last year. 

Dianne said: “It would be nice to think I’ll live that long! She has had a good life.” 

Today, Gladys has three grandchildren, Marc, Julian and Janine, who have in turn given her eight great-grandchildren. 

Diane Anderson, wellbeing leader at Parkview care home, said everyone enjoyed the birthday celebrations and Gladys played her part in the entertainment by singing the alphabet backwards.

“It was really good, she really enjoyed herself,” she said. “We just want to make it as special as possible. We like our residents to have as much input as they can.”

Diane has worked at the home for 13 years and has only seen four or five other hundredth birthdays in her time.

When asked for the secret to long life, Gladys said: “It’s about being good to people and looking after them.”