Saying the secret to a long and happy life is ‘Just Being Yourself’
At Friends of the Elderly’s Redcot residential care home in Haslemere, Surrey, the care team has been pulling out all the stops celebrating Juliet Fuirer’s landmark 100th Birthday. Juliet’s milestone day began with gifts, balloons and a very special card from Buckingham Palace, but it didn’t stop there. The Birthday Girl was whisked away by her family for a delicious lunch and, when she returned, Juliet enjoyed a fun-filled birthday party, complete with a scrumptious birthday cake, with all her care home friends.
Juliet, who was born in Ludhiana, the most populous and largest city in the Indian state of Punjab, has been a resident at Redcot residential care home for two and a half years. Juliet spent the first six years of her life growing up in India before moving with her family to the United Kingdom. “My Mother lived in India for a long time and both my Father and Grandfather worked for the Indian Civil Service. I remember India being extremely hot and full of snakes! The snakes used to curl themselves around door handles which always gave me a fright,” Juliet said.
Juliet has always loved music and whilst at boarding school in Eastbourne, her favourite childhood hobby was the Music Club, but her favourite lesson was literature. “I love music and thoroughly enjoy the musical activities and quizzes at Redcot. I was born in 1922, the same year as quite a few Hollywood musical stars such as Judy Garland, Doris Day, Cyd Charisse and Ava Gardner,” Juliet added.
Growing up, Juliet recalls that she received a ten bob note – 50 pence in new money – for her pocket money. “My pocket money didn’t last long, I usually spent it on sweets,” she added.
Later, Juliet studied Modern Languages and Logic at Bedford College and when she was 18, she was called up and joined the Army. Juliet – whose role was in translations – was posted to Bletchley Park which during the war was the world’s best kept secret and a key part of the country’s war effort against Germany. It is where the team of codebreakers – who included Alan Turing – cracked the German Enigma and Lorenz Ciphers.
Juliet married her Husband, Fernand, a Cabinet Maker at St Christopher’s Church in Montreal, having moved to Canada after the war. The pair honeymooned on the Gaspé Peninsula, a peninsula along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River that extends from the Matapedia Valley in Quebec into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
Following their time in Canada, the couple returned to England where they raised their family having two daughters.
Chatting about her 100 years, Juliet believes that, for her, the best years were 1946 through the 1950s and that being in the Army during WW2 was very important. She said: “I didn’t complain. I was honoured to be doing such important work for my country. I didn’t question anything, I just got one with what I’d been asked to do.
“Reaching 100 is quite an achievement. I’m the same age as the BBC and was born the year they discovered The Tomb of Tutankhamun. I also heard that 1922 was the year that water skis were invented; but I have to say that I think the best invention of my lifetime has to be the Smartphone,” Juliet added.
Jan Daly, the Registered Manager at Redcot said: “Juliet is a lovely lady who is very popular with her care home friends. Everyone at Redcot wanted to make sure Juliet had a wonderful 100th Birthday and we’re so glad she enjoyed her day. Juliet is a real character and always joins in with the activities, she’s very special and we wanted to show her just how special she is to all of us.”
“I’ve had a lovely 100th Birthday,” said Juliet, “It’s been wonderful. I was asked recently what important lessons I’d learnt during my lifetime. I answered not to be afraid, be confident and to just be yourself and I think that is exactly what I’ve done.”