450 cards and a cheeky Baileys! How Doncaster's Hilda Middleton celebrated 105th birthday

She wanted 105 cards to celebrate her 105th birthday – but thanks to well-wishers around the globe sending her greetings, Doncaster’s Hilda Middleton more reached her target as she marked her massive milestone.

By Darren Burke
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 5:09 pm

More than 450 cards poured in for Hilda after her family appealed to the public to help make her wish come true on her big day yesterday.

Family and friends gathered at Bentley Pavilion for a party for Hilda – who also toasted her big day with a cheeky glass of Baileys!

After receiving a card from The Queen, Mrs Middleton, who lives at Bentley’s Chapel Garth nursing home, celebrated with a glass of the famed Irish cream liquor,

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Hilda celebrated her big day with hundreds of cards.

Her great granddaughter Hayley Twiby said: “She had absolutely loads of cards – she had a ball!

“The day was absolutely lovely. She had three big cakes and a cheeky Baileys!”

One of Doncaster’s oldest residents, Hilda puts the secret of a long life down to a tot of whiskey in her tea each morning – as well as the occasional glass of Baileys.

Her mum gave birth to 22 children, but only 11 survived.

Friends and relatives of all ages came to celebrate the big day.

As she grew up, she joined the Royal Navy and became a Wren and during World War 2 she worked in an ammunitions factory, helping in the building of tank wheels.

During the Blitz, she lived on Plymouth Hoe and lost three properties due to bombing.

Hayley said: “She would watch the Spitfires fighting the Germans in mid air over the Channel.

"She recalled on many occasions hearing the Germans coming over and then hearing the Spitfires coming to intercept them.

Hilda celebrated her big day with a glass or two of her favourite tipple - Baileys.

"She would watch from her window, seeing the sky light with the bombs and the bullets that were flying across.

"She spent many nights in the bomb shelters listening to the fighting up above.

"She also tells of when she and husband Joseph had to run for their lives because a German bomber was chasing them, firing bullets at them and they managed to run to safety into a bomb shelter."

A war bride, the couple had two children, Brian who was born in 1944 and 12 months later John.

Hilda Middleton celebrated her big day with cakes and celebrations.

Her husband was away a lot of the time during the war and Hayley added: “It was extremely difficult for her because she had to cope with all that the war entailed as well as being left with babies.

"Nan has worked hard all her working life - she did many different jobs including working at Bassetts sweet factory and various cleaning jobs.

"She became a foster parent and for many years she fostered children from all walks of life - some had come from very bad backgrounds but she looked after them like she did her own."

In 1978, at the age of 61 she fostered her own four grandchildren and lived independently on her own with her dog until the grand old age of 103.

She has eight grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren and numerous great, great grandchildren and counting.

After retiring, she travelled all over the world, cruising around the globe and telling relatives: “I don't know where to go next, I’ve been everywhere."

Mrs Middleton was flooded with cards and gifts from across the country.

Added Hayley: “She has always worked hard throughout her life, she has always been a strong independent woman and an inspiration to the family.”