16 May 2022

Ballinascreen woman clocks up the century

Mary Rogers' family were able to help celebrate her birthday through the window.

Ballinascreen woman clocks up the century

Mary celebrating in Magherafelt Manor Home.

One of Ballinascreen’s oldest residents recently celebrated her 100th birthday at Magherafelt Manor Nursing Home.

Mary Rogers was born in 1920 at the tail end of the Spanish Flu’s effects and reaches her latest milestone as the word is reeling from another pandemic.

Unable to enter the home due to Covid-19 restrictions, Mary’s family joined in the celebrations through the window of the care home where she has spent the last two years.

Staff were able to ensure social distancing regulations were adhered to as popular singer Wayne Rodgers serenaded Mary, her family and the other guests.

The former Burns factory worker has been looking forward to her birthday for months and was delighted to receive telegrams from the Queen, President Higgins and her grand-nephew in Australia.

Mary began working in Burns shirt factory in Draperstown in the early 1950s and travelled the three miles back and forth by bicycle, beginning a lifelong interest in sewing and needlework.

The camaraderie in the factory resulted in many friendships and she recalls them fondly while telling stories of her childhood and working life.

Mary nursed her father and step-mother during their final illnesses and with less support available back then, had to give up working in the factory to become a full-time carer.

Once joking she was the only person to have been carried out of a graveyard after breaking her ankle visiting a grave, she has attributed her long life to having never married.

She has a great rapport with her grand nieces and nephews and is constantly involved in their lives and hobbies, sometimes learning the rules of unfamiliar games in order to stay engaged.

Mary’s niece, Sue Boyle, thanked the staff at the care home for their support.

She said: “Having cared for so many throughout her life, she is now lucky enough to receive the excellent care of the staff in Magherafelt Manor.

“We want to put on record their appreciation for all their thoughtfulness and support.

“We also want to thank all her friends and neighbours for their help and support to Mary while she was at home and for their best wishes on this great occasion.  

“Mary’s positive attitude, determination and strong faith have given her the blessing of a long, full and happy life and we hope will see her celebrate many more birthdays.”

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Conor Doherty of Derry, celebrates his side's third goal, scored by Benny Heron, during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Derry and Monaghan at the Athletic Grounds.

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