Celebrations for Devon woman’s 110th birthday

Home UK News Celebrations for Devon woman’s 110th birthday
Celebrations for Devon woman’s 110th birthday

Zhara Simpson,BBC News, Plymouth

Ross Symons Theresa Ryan and her family on her 109th birthdayRoss Symons

Theresa Ryan is celebrating her 110th birthday on Sunday

The family of a woman living in Devon who will turn 110 on Sunday have said the secret to her long life is being kind to others.

Theresa Ryan, born on 2 June 1914, shortly before the beginning of World War One, is believed to be the 20th oldest person in the UK.

Her grandson Ross Symons said he believed her penchant for “Quavers and chocolate” had also helped contribute to her remarkable age.

When asked if she was looking forward to her birthday, Mrs Ryan said: “I don’t worry about that.”

Josh and Ross Symons

Ross Symons, right, pictured with his son Josh, is asking the public to send cards to his nan for her 110th birthday

Mr Symons, 48, said the family “pinch” themselves every year another birthday comes around and he appealed for people to send her a card.

“I have so many amazing memories,” he said.

“I think because I’m older now, I appreciate her a lot more because I still pinch myself that she is still alive and kicking with us and enjoying life.

“She is always surprising us.”

Ross Symons Photo of Theresa Ryan when she was youngerRoss Symons

Theresa Ryan was married to George Ryan who was an Irish Fusilier

Mrs Ryan, who was born in Malta, worked as a housekeeper for a naval captain and also looked after his children.

She married George Ryan, an Irish Fusilier, in 1938.

The pair kept in touch through letters when Mr Ryan was taken as a prisoner of war in World War Two.

Mr Symons said he was always learning new things about his grandmother.

“I’m looking back a lot more and trying to find out more to pass on to generations and generations,” he said.

“She has always just said to be kind to everybody.

“I know that is all she has ever done – she has worked so hard and looked after her three children.”

He said of her birthday: “I’m sure there will be lots of Quavers, chocolate, cards and well wishes.”

Theresa Ryan's 100th birthday card from Queen Elizabeth

Mrs Ryan has received six cards from the Royal Family

Mrs Ryan has received six cards from the Royal Family, with the seventh on its way.

The Royal Family send cards to people who celebrate their 100th birthday, 105th birthday and then every year thereafter.

Her daughter Margaret Symons, 73, said her mother had “quite a collection of cards now”.

“When she received the first card, she was over the Moon,” she said.

“I think it was always something she wanted to achieve.

“When she was 98 and 99, she used to say ‘I might get to 100’, so when she got the first one, it was lovely.”

Ross Symons Picture of Theresa and her husband George Ryan with Ross Symons when they were youngerRoss Symons

Mrs Ryan with her husband George and their grandson Ross Symons

Rachel Staughton said she remembers when Mrs Ryan first walked through the doors at Manor Court care home in 2014.

She described caring for her as a “real pleasure”.

“I have never looked after anyone of this age before,” she said.

Sharon Spry, who has worked as a carer for 35 years, said it was a “real honour and a privilege” to care for her.

“Theresa is always smiling, always laughing, singing and happy,” she said.

“Everyone calls her the Queen of Manor Court.”

Rachel Staughton and Sharon Spry

Rachel Staughton and Sharon Spry are Mrs Ryan’s carers

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