Leeds centenarian shares secret to a long life on her 100th birthdayHC-One’s Airedale care home in Pudsey, Leeds hosted a birthday party for Resident Iris who turned 100 on 10th August. 

Iris Grayston (pictured) was born and brought up in Leeds, she worked at Leigh Mills in Stanningley straight from leaving school at age 14. Iris' father George Bonnel worked there as an Overlooker. Iris then moved on to work at Crawshaw Mills and Nobles where she was a spinner. 

Later in life, Iris worked at Stanningley special school where she stayed until retirement.

When Iris was young, she enjoyed going to the local picture house, baking, reading and gardening. She also enjoyed holidays away with her family.

Iris married Clifford Grayston during the Second World War. Clifford was in the army and often away for weeks at a time, they divorced in 1960 and she brought up her 5 children Gerald, Philip, Iris, Kevin and Valerie, with the help of her mother and father.

Iris has 15 grandchildren and several great grandchildren! She spent a lot of time with her grandchildren as they were growing up; often taking them to Pudsey Park, going to the local Marks and Spencer’s and baking plenty of buns at her home. 

Her grandchildren used to enjoy Iris’ famous pancakes on a Sunday which she made in her cast iron pan. She would also make jam tarts or ‘Soldiers Pasty’ for afters.

When asked about what her secret to a long life is, Iris said, “To eat well (she always eats a good breakfast). To not smoke and only drink for special occasions.” She always likes to keep her mind and body active and swears by using Oil of Ulay (now called Olay) which she has been using since she was young to keep up her youthfulness!

The events that took place within Airedale care home on Iris' big day were spending the morning opening all of her wonderful cards and presents given by family, friends, staff and fellow Residents… and of course her card from the Queen! 

After lunch, all of Iris' family came to visit just in time for the singer, Golden Age Songbird Anna, who sung wartime favourites. Iris enjoyed the entertainment and even got a bit tearful when everybody sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her! Everyone ended the day with a buffet tea and nice big slice of her birthday cake.

Karen, Wellbeing Coordinator, described the day, “All staff on shift helped to set up for the event and make her day special. The singer 'Anna' was dressed in wartime attire and sang wartime favourites from the 1940's. It was a very enjoyable day not just for Iris but for all our Residents as this is the first time we have had an entertainer in a long time due to coronavirus restrictions.”

Phillip Pawsey, Chef, baked Iris a delicious cake, which went down a hit!

Iris commented, “What a lovely day it’s been. The singer was fantastic and I’ve really enjoyed myself. It’s just what we needed!”

The other Residents enjoyed being outside together as it was a nice sunny day. 

Colleague Tina Davies said, “It was a pleasure to see everybody enjoying themselves today. What a lovely day.”

Located on Church Lane, Airedale care home offers short and long term care packages for older ladies and gentlemen that require residential care.