On 17 October, Westward Care celebrated the 104th birthday of Southlands resident Olive Robinson.

We celebrated in style with Olive with a special afternoon tea taking place with her fellow residents on Friday 15 October and a family party on her actual birthday on Sunday.

We also gathered 104 birthday wishes for Olive on Westward Care's Twitter as we put a call out for people to send a #MessageToOlive. Olive was wished happy birthday by many local people - and celebrities such as Lorraine Kelly, Claudia Winkleman and Strictly Come Dancing judges Anton Du Beke and Motsi Mabuse! 


Responding to the heart-warming slow dance captured during the celebrations, Strictly judge Anton Du Beke said Olive was a ‘marvel’ and said it was a ‘10 from me’. 

Olive was living independently in Leeds before moving into a Retirement Apartment at Southlands as a short-term guest in the last month. Olive has enjoyed her stay at Southlands so much, that she has decided to make the move full-time where she has quickly become popular with residents and staff alike – and regularly comes top in the weekly quizzes!
Olive said: “I’m very grateful to everyone for their well-wishes on my 104th birthday. People always ask me what my secret is to living a long life, but there is no secret! I’ve been blessed with spending lots of time with my family and the people I love, making memories and enjoyed my garden as much as possible – and, of course, getting up every day and putting on a glamorous outfit to face the day with.”
Peter Hodkinson, Managing Director of Westward Care notes: “As an independent care provider in Leeds, we strive to ensure that everyone in our three locations (Pennington Court, Headingley Hall and Southlands) lives independently and happily for as long as possible. Olive is testament to our ethos – and we can’t wait to celebrate with her. Everyone at Westward Care joins me in wishing Olive many happy returns on her 104th birthday.”
Born on 17 October 1917, Olive’s life has been filled with happiness. Brought up in Leeds, Olive was a clever girl and after leaving school at 14, she went to work in a tailoring factory. She continued to work for tailoring companies - including Montague Burtons - where she met her husband, Leonard, who she married in 1939.
In the early days of the war, Olive and Len lived in Scotland, where Len was stationed. They later came back to Leeds where their beloved daughter Joyce was born before Len was posted to guard Queen Mary at Badminton House, Gloucestershire. It was during this time that Len developed serious lung problems and was invalided out of the army.
Olive spent the next few years caring for Len and raising their family, before she went on to join HM Customs. Olive worked as a Customs Officer at Leeds Bradford Airport - a job which she loved! – and rose through the ranks to become PA to the Chief Executive at HM Customs.
Retiring in the late 1970s, Olive spent lots of time having fun with her grandchildren, Jonny and Jilly, and later with her seven great-grandchildren, Oliver, Bethany, William, Leo, Charlie, Alfie and George.
Len sadly passed away in 2000, and only got to meet Oliver and Bethany, but Olive makes sure all her great-grandchildren know all about their much-missed Grandad Len.
"The staff at Westward Care clearly love their jobs and the residents. It is evident that they go above and beyond for the people in their care."
Headingley Hall, Friend of resident