Appeal to help Sheffield pensioner mark 100th birthday goes global

Winnie Blagden, centre, with Sue Pinder and Sue's son Darren Pinder.
Winnie Blagden, centre, with Sue Pinder and Sue's son Darren Pinder.
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An appeal to make sure a widow who has no family has 100 cards to open on her 100th birthday has gone viral.

Winnie Blagden lives alone and has no children so BBC Radio Sheffield put an appeal on Facebook asking people to send cards.

Winnie Blagden, right, with carer Sam Franks.

Winnie Blagden, right, with carer Sam Franks.

The appeal has been seen by 2.5 million people and thousands have responded.

Pledges include 100 pink roses, a stay in a hotel, a locket, fish and chips, pizza, personalised perfume and even a trip in a limousine.

Scores of cards have been arriving at the radio station on Shoreham Street in Sheffield city centre – and people from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Romania and Japan have responded online.

The appeal was to be kept a surprise until she turns 100 at the end of the month, but bosses at Serenta HomeCare, which helps her to live independently in Sheffield, have decided she should be told something of the amazing response before then.

Winnie Blagden turns 100 later this month.

Winnie Blagden turns 100 later this month.

Sue Pinder, co-owner, said: “Winnie has no family, she has a few friends through church, she never had children and her husband George died 35 years ago.

“Winnie is a selfless person, she cares about everybody but herself.

“She says to me, ‘I’m just me, I’m not special’, but she is.”

Ms Pinder’s son Darren, who invited Ms Blagden to his wedding, said: “She is very appreciative and always says thank you.”

Winnie Blagden.

Winnie Blagden.

The care firm owners are delighted with the response to the radio appeal.

Ms Pinder said: “For it to go viral like this shows there are some nice people around.

“For them to take 10 minutes to send this lady a card when she thought she would only get ones from her friends, it’s absolutely amazing.

“To get 100 cards for her birthday would have been fantastic, but it went on Facebook and it has just gone through the roof.”

Martyn Weston, station managing editor, said: “Winnie’s story has the captured the hearts of so many who want to make her big birthday very special.

“We are overwhelmed by the response and are now planning to put on a party to help her celebrate in style.”

Cards for Winnie Blagden can be sent to BBC Radio Sheffield, 54 Shoreham Street, Sheffield S1 4RS.