105-year-old survives two deadly pandemics to celebrate milestone birthday in Wrexham

100821 BESSIE 105-YEAR-OLD
Bessie received many birthday cards from family and friends to celebrate the big day. Credit: Ceidiog PR

Mrs Martha Elizabeth Hughes, better known as Bessie, has survived two deadly pandemics to celebrate her 105th birthday.

Bessie has lived through the Spanish flu pandemic, two World Wars and the coronavirus pandemic on her way to reach the milestone birthday.

A committed Christian and former chapel organist, she spent all of her life living in the village of Brymbo, until she moved to Pendine Park’s Hillbury House Care Home in Wrexham when she was 101.

Born during the First World War in 1916, Bessie is the oldest resident in the home and is very popular.

She has been sent a vast amount of birthday cards from family and friends. Staff and fellow residents also celebrated the big day with balloons and banners on display in the home.

Bessie with her brothers Billy and Harold. Credit: Ceidiog PR

Bessie survived the Spanish flu as an infant and is still going strong after receiving her Covid vaccination as a centenarian.

Her 85-year-old nephew Tony Williams said, "The reason she is able to celebrate her 105th birthday is that she has always looked after herself.

"My aunt did a lot of dancing and she always went for a walk every day. 

"She did her own shopping and always cooked herself a proper meal.

"She is still going strong and doing well for her age."

Bessie with her father in Rhyl. Credit: Ceidiog PR

Bessie has been widowed for more than 40 years from her late husband, Raymond, who worked as a crane driver at Brymbo Steelworks.

The couple had no children, but Bessie has enjoyed a close relationship with her seven nieces and nephews and their families.

The care home's manager Cindy Clutton said, "We congratulate Bessie on her 105th birthday. It is a major milestone to reach.

"She is a feisty and wonderful lady."