Centenarian celebrates milestone with family

Centenarian celebrates milestone with family

17 May 2017

A LOCAL lady celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends at the weekend.

Mrs Eileen Magowan was rightly the centre of attention for her centenary celebrations at Glasswater Lodge residential care home, near Crossgar, on Saturday.

Among those joining her were her two sons, John — whose birthday was also on Saturday — and Alan, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

To mark the occasion Mrs Magowan received a telegram from The Queen and letters of congratulations from the Irish President, Mr Michael D Higgins, and the Lord Lieutenant for Co Down, Mr David Lindsay.

She greatly enjoyed everyone singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and helped in the cutting of her birthday cake.

She was particularly pleased that her four grandchildren, Neil, Emma, Drew and Paul, and two great grandchildren, Sam and Poppy, were there to join her for her big day.

Mrs Magowan is the second youngest and last surviving of six daughters of Rachael and Johnny Bassett, of Brookvale, The Craig Road, outside Downpatrick.

After attending Inch School she worked for her brother-in-law Joe Rea in his drapery business in St Patrick’s Avenue.

She returned to the family farm to look after her elderly parents and also to help run the farm. She had a great interest in poultry and reared hens and broilers.

She married her late husband, Sam, in 1943, and continued to live on the farm. Mr Magowan, who was involved in the motor trade in Belfast, died in 1986. After his passing she moved from the family home to a bungalow on the farm.

Mrs Magowan has been a lifelong member of Inch Parish Church and sang in the church choir for many years. 

For many years she was involved in the ‘meals on wheels’ service in the Crossgar area. She was a keen indoor and outdoor bowls player and kept her brain active with quizzes.

Some of her fondest memories are of a safari holiday in Kenya with her husband many years ago and driving home from Gibraltar, with her late sister, Lily, who had completed a tour of duty in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps as matron of the military hospital.

Mrs Magowan moved to Glasswater Lodge at the age 97 and is visited regularly by her many friends, neighbours and family — particularly her nieces, Isabel, Mavis, Adele, Betty and Yvonne.

Her son, John, said afterwards: “Mum really enjoyed her day and was in top form.

“She is very happy at Glasswater Lodge and the family would like to thank the staff for her continued good care.”