In contrast to the Queen’s lavish celebrations, Elizabeth will be celebrating her 90th birthday with her Independent Age volunteer visitor, Jacoba Oldham[ii]. She doesn’t yet know what’s planned for the day but Jacoba has promised to bring a birthday cake.
Born on 21 April 1926, the same day as the Queen, Elizabeth E is a big fan of the monarch and has keenly followed her life and reign. When she was born, her father wrote to the father of the princess, the then Duke of York who would later become King George VI. Elizabeth has continued this tradition by writing to the Queen on some of their shared birthdays.
For their 80th birthday celebrations, Elizabeth received a card from the Queen herself. Elizabeth says that just sharing her birthday with the Queen makes it a special occasion each year.
Elizabeth was born at home in Yorkshire, with a midwife coming to stay with the family for about a month. She had one sister who was 7 ½ years older than her, whom she remained close to throughout her life.
Towards the end of World War II, Elizabeth worked in the Royal Observer Corps, which involved plotting aircraft and tracking their position. This information would then be passed to the RAF and would also be used to issue air-raid warnings in British cities, saving many civilians’ lives.
Elizabeth retired from her job as a local government officer 30 years ago. She now spends much of her time sewing and knitting and is currently knitting an outfit for her great, great niece, who was born just two weeks ago.
Until November 2015, when she had a fall, Elizabeth tried to keep quite active. Since then, she has been determined to get back on her feet and get out and about walking again.
She says, “Old age can be lonely, especially when you’re less mobile than you used to be. The worst thing about being almost 90 is that I can’t meet other people like I used to because I haven’t been able to leave my flat since my fall. That’s why having a volunteer visitor like Jacoba is a lifeline, because it means I have a visit to look forward to at least every fortnight. We have a good old chat about the past and present and it’s great to have someone to share stories with.”
We’re always looking for more volunteers to talk to a lonely older person. Our Friendship services are available by telephone in all areas of the UK and some areas also require face to face volunteer visitors. Older people who would like a regular friendly visit or call from one of our volunteers should also get in touch.
Find out more about volunteering opportunities
[i] Surname has been changed
[ii] Jacoba is also a National Wellbeing Manager at Independent Age