On May 31, Winnie Blagden had a landmark birthday party for the books. The England native's party out-shined any sweet 16 with thousands of strangers turning up to surprise her for her big 100.
With no surviving family, Blagden didn't expect a big fuss over her 100th birthday. Her caregiver Darren Pinder said:
"We gave her a tour of town hall and had a cup of tea with the mayor. She thought we were going to take her to lunch and then she walked into a big room of people."
Little did Blagden know that Pinder's mother and colleague alerted a local British radio station about the centenarian's upcoming birthday before the fact. The news went viral immediately. Pinder said:
"Her husband, George, died 30 years ago," he said. "She's got no children, only a couple of close friends and home carers. That's why it's gone viral -- because people felt sorry that she has no living family left."
A huge celebration commenced at the town hall. The place was filled with gifts, cake, decorations...oh, and 16,000 birthday cards from strangers all over the world. Including one from the queen. Casual.
Blagden also received cards from Brendan Coyle of "Downton Abbey" as well as from some of her longest and dearest friends.
"She told me, 'I don't deserve all this,'" Pinder said. "I said, 'Winnie, you're a lovely person. You do deserve all of this and you lived to be 100.'"
Blagden celebrated her 100th birthday beyond her wildest expectations. The guest list was full of A-listers and the surprise factor was on point. It was a magical day for a deserving woman.
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