Kettering 100th birthday surprise celebration for devoted couple married 76 years

The Kettering couple had a surprise party arranged at her care home

Monday, 27th September 2021, 1:49 pm
Updated Monday, 27th September 2021, 1:50 pm

A husband who wanted to celebrate his 100th birthday with his wife at her Kettering care home has been treated to a surprise party by kind-hearted staff.

Fred Chapman was to travel to see Kathleen, his wife of 76 years, in her Elm Bank Care Home room to mark his big milestone but plans had been put in place to ensure a very happy day.

Staff and members of the couple's family had plotted to ensure resident Kathleen could share Fred’s special birthday in style as he reached his centenary.

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Fred and Kathleen Chapman celebrated Fred's birthday together in Kettering

Son Peter said: “My family and I were completely blown away by the efforts made by the care team at Elm Bank. They made sure my father had a really special birthday even though it is actually my mother who is a resident there, and my father is simply a regular visitor."

Kathleen, 98, has been a resident at Elm Bank in Northampton Road since 2016 and was looking forward to a visit from husband Fred on his 100th birthday on August 25.

Only expecting a low-key day, Fred was picked up for the visit by son Peter and walked into a surprise party with daughter-in-law Marilyn there already, along with grandson Matthew with his wife Karen and their young children Oscar and Ellie.

Peter said: “We were greeted by a wonderful sight - the dining room had been dressed with birthday banners and the table was beautifully presented with everything one might need for a birthday party."

Kathleen and Fred Chapman were joined by members of their family

Kathleen and Fred have been married for 76 years and to be together on this special day was a real treat for everyone.

They also celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary together at Elm Bank last year, in the middle of Covid, just the two of them, with Kathleen inside a door and Fred outside to meet Covid restrictions. Before Covid he used to visit Kathleen every afternoon.

Kathleen and Fred lived in Gloucestershire most of their lives but moved to Kettering 30 years ago after their retirement to be near their son who has been here 40 years.

Fred’s day started by receiving a congratulatory birthday card from the Queen in recognition of his landmark birthday, and was followed by numerous telephone calls from friends and family, at home and abroad.

When Fred arrived at Elm Bank, he and the rest of the family were treated to an afternoon celebration including wine and cake, with soft drinks for the children.

Kathleen joined her family in the dining room and was delighted to meet up with grandson Matthew and her great-grandchildren.

Jessica Pateman, general manager of Elm Bank Care Home, added: “We always like to celebrate special occasions and we have great relationships with residents’ families so, of course, we wanted to invite Kathleen and Fred’s loved ones. After 76 years of marriage it was a joyous day for us all to see four generations of their family together to celebrate Fred’s 100 years.”

Using video calling, the party was shared to other members of the family including his daughter and other grandchildren and great-grandchildren in South Africa.

Peter added: “I offer my most grateful thanks to Jessica and the Elm Bank team for making the day so special - one that will be remembered by our family for a long time.”