Ethel Sinclair toasts beating coronavirus and her 100th birthday with family visit at Belfast nursing home.

Ethel Sinclair toasts beating coronavirus and her 100th birthday with family visit at Belfast nursing home.

Belfast nursing home resident Ethel Sinclair celebrated her 100th birthday on 13th May 2020 with 20 minutes of pure joy as she was allowed to see her family for the first time in two months. And the occasion was all the more special for Ethel as she had tested positive for Covid-19 in early April.

Her family were allowed to gather in the car park at Bradley Manor nursing home and given the good weather, staff at the home were able to wheel Ethel, who has lived around the Crumlin Road area all her life, outside for the first time since overcoming her illness.

Ethel, born Margaret Ethel McFadden with two sisters and two brothers, has always stuck by what she knows best – Belfast life.

“She’s now living at Bradley Manor off the Crumlin Road. She knows what she likes and she likes it there,” Ashleigh explained.

Ethel, who grew up on Silvio Street, just off Crumlin Road, believes there’s no big secret to her longevity beyond simply enjoying life.

“I love a cup of tea and cream buns. Chocolate eclairs are my favourite,” she said. “I still think of myself as a 20-year-old who loves dancing. “Although my hearing has gone a little these days, I can still give a good scolding when I need to.”

Having lived through the Second World War, the Belfast blitz and the Troubles, Ethel has endured hard times during her 100 years.

“Her mother died when she was just six years old. After marrying and having two children, Samuel and his sister Lorraine, she lost her husband Jim to cancer 40 years ago, but she kept on going,”.

Ethel’s son Samuel Sinclair

Samuel Sinclair is a member of St. John’s Masonic Lodge No.160, Islandmagee.

“She suffered a bad fall when she was 97. She spent several months in hospital with a broken hip and wrist and contracted MRSA while when was in there, but we’re all delighted to still have her with us as she reaches 100 years.

“Contracting coronavirus was a big concern for us, but thankfully, though she tested positive, her symptoms turned out to be quite mild.

“Throughout it she was determined to stay in her home. She wasn’t for going to hospital and wanted to be where she felt safe and secure. “The care the staff at Bradley Manor helped her stay where she wanted to be.

“We just can’t thank them enough for all that they have done these past few weeks. Coronavirus still knocked her back a good bit and, given her age, the recovery is slow, but we all take it in turns to FaceTime her every day.

“She might not be up to date with technology, but the staff in Bradley Manor have been fantastic in helping her.

“She loves nothing more than seeing her great-grandchildren. All the family have been there for her in whatever way we can.

“None of us have actually seen her since the home closed to visitors in the middle of March.

Ethel in her younger days.

Her granddaughter Ashleigh says, “While we did have plans to celebrate her birthday at Belfast Castle and let her look down over the city she loves so much, we’ve obviously had to put any big family gatherings on hold until the situation changes.