Fun-loving Portsmouth care home resident celebrates 106th birthday on same day as second dose of Covid vaccine
BIRTHDAY celebrations for a much-loved 106-year-old were extra special as care home residents’ second Pfizer jab was the icing on the cake.
Cheerful chap Bob Phillips spent his 106th birthday surrounded by balloons and a letter from the Queen while enjoying time with staff and residents at The Haven Rest Home in Drayton.
The centenarian had more to celebrate than most, as he received his second Covid-19 vaccination alongside his 18 fellow residents on his big day.
Amy Hall, registered manager of The Haven, said: ‘He is adored by all the staff, we love to hear his stories and we are privileged to care for Bob, among our other residents.
‘He makes a lot of the other elderly residents feel like young ladies and gents! He is agile and always up for fun.’
As of Monday, roughly 66,000 people in Portsmouth had been given their initial jabs so far, almost a third of the city’s population, with a further 6,000 having had their second vaccine.
And now over-50s – the final of the top nine priority groups – are being invited to book a vaccine appointment, and are all expected to have second doses by the middle of July.
On January 20, city council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson confirmed that staff and residents in every nursing and residential home in the city had been offered life-saving jabs.
Bob, who has a daughter named Glenis, moved into The Haven Rest Home on March 16, 2020, the day before his 105th birthday.
This was the day lockdown commenced for care homes, so for the first time Bob had to spend a birthday away from his family - and a year later he has turned 106 in the company of his Haven family.
Bob said: ‘I’ve got another six years to go yet, I think!’
The Haven Rest Home, in Havant Road, has remained proudly Covid negative throughout the pandemic, and even created a Covid-secure pod so families could still see loved ones safely.
Amy added: ‘Above all it has really highlighted how much of a dedicated and truly caring staff team we have, who took the responsibility to follow guidance and social distancing rules for all of our beloved residents.’
Born on March 17, 1915 in Sunderland, Bob lived with his father Robert, mother Marion and sisters Florenze and Ida.
Bob learned to drive as a teenager to become one of the first people to get a driving licence, and moved to Kent with his parents where he worked as a delivery driver.
After his father died, Bob and his mother moved to Portsmouth to be with his eldest sister.
Bob could not join the Armed Forces to fight in World War Two due to a childhood illness leaving him with a weak heart, so he got a job checking technical drawings for Airspeed on Eastern Road.
He can remember hearing the rumble of all the armoured vehicles travelling through Portsmouth heading off to cross the channel to France.
On the bus to work one morning he met his wife Evelyn Mary Kate, known by everyone as Molly, and the pair were happily married from 1949 to Molly’s death in 2008.
During their retirement, Bob and Molly travelled to Egypt, Italy, Istanbul, Norway and Switzerland.
Bob has always loved trains, cars and motorbikes and was taken to Beaulieu Motor Museum for his 100th birthday.
Bob is looking forward to a garden party at The Haven once restrictions are lifted, with his family and with his Haven family.