Well loved Battle lady celebrates 100th birthday
Battle resident Patricia Smalldon celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday February 27, when she received a birthday card from Her Majesty the Queen.
Patricia, known as Patsy, also received many messages of love and congratulations from her family members and friends who, because of the ongoing coronavirus restrictions, were not able be with her in person to celebrate on the special day.
Patsy was born and grew up in Plaistow, East London. On leaving school she trained to be a shorthand typist.
She and her family were members of the local church – St Philip and St James, Plaistow – and it was there that she met her future husband Bill Smalldon, a cabinet maker.
The couple were married during the Second World War in 1942.
Patsy remembers that the windows of the church were missing as they had been blown out during the air-raids of the Blitz.
After Bill retired the couple decided to move to Battle with Patsy’s mum to be closer to her brother Len.
They moved to the town in 1975 and made their home in Chapel Cottages, in Lower Lake.
Patsy and Bill joined the congregation of St Mary’s Church as soon as they arrived.
Bill played bowls and so he and Patsy joined the Bowls Club where Patsy organised the fund raising.
They used to go on outings on the bus to Hastings and enjoyed attending performances at the White Rock Theatre.
Patsy did voluntary work on the reception at Battle Library and also worked in the office at Claverham Community College in Battle.
She was a member of the W.I and was the W.I Market secretary for a number of years.
Bill used to take his excess garden produce to the market and the couple then donated the proceeds from the sale to St Michael’s Hospice to support its work.
The couple enjoyed a long and very happy marriage until Bill died in 1994. Patsy describes him as a wonderful husband who spoiled her.
Patsy then went on to become a member of the Age Concern Club and the Disability Association (ESDA), where she was on the committee.
She greatly looked forward to taking part in their monthly outings. For many years she was taken to the annual Carol Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, in London, and said the trip was the highlight of her year.
Housebound now for a number of years, Patsy is always cheerful and takes a great interest in everything and everybody.
In normal times she enjoys nothing better than socialising with her church friends at tea parties, games afternoons and outings organised by St Mary’s pastoral care team.
Prevented from having the 100th birthday party she had been looking forward to, Patsy celebrated the day quietly at home with her two closest family members – niece Margaret and her husband Cliff who had self-isolated for two weeks beforehand in order to be with her.
Patsy’s friends and family sent pre-recorded video greetings which were then able to be played for her to watch and enjoy, on her television screen.
These included a message from the Dean of Battle, the Very Reverend Lee Duckett.
She was presented with a beautiful arrangement of flowers from her friends at St Mary’s Church, and also a card on behalf of Battle Town Council offering their ‘congratulations and warmest wishes’.
It is still hoped that a proper birthday celebration for Patsy can be held, just as soon as the current coronavirus restrictions have come to an end.