Fratton 102-year-old thrown 'spectacular' surprise party at popular Southsea bar

Musical Maisie Smith couldn’t attend her own party at Sherlock’s Bar in Southsea. But she was ‘delighted’ on receiving a surprise video call from friends and family who all sang Happy Birthday to her from the venue on December 15.

Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 11:28 am
Maisie Smith's son Robin Bartlett with members of the Spark Community at Sherlock's Bar, Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The last two years have been difficult for Maisie, who lives at Fratton.

But despite losing her confidence after being admitted to hospital last year, she says she is ‘grateful to be mostly well’.

Today Maisie is celebrating reaching another milestone as she marks her 102nd birthday.

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Maisie Smith. Picture: Keith Woodland (211219-3)

And she absolutely loved being surprised by friends and family last week despite not being able to attend in person herself.

She says: ‘I have lost my confidence.

‘I’m annoyed that even though I can stand and slowly walk, I’ve never properly walked again after being in hospital last year.’

Maisie’s son, Rob Bartlett, organised a party at which she joined in remotely via a video call from her home at Thorncroft Road, Fratton.

Robin Bartlett and Rebecca Simmons of Spark Community Space talking to Maisie on their phone at Sherlock's Bar, Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

In attendance were close family – along with members of a group for pensioners called Spark Community Space of which Rob is a keen member.

Twice a week like-minded people come together and enjoy breakfast and tea with the incentive being to pay what you can afford.

Rob says: ‘My mother was too frail to attend so I had arranged a little party for my lovely friends to wish her well.

‘Being able to have them all see her on a smart phone was marvellous.

Maisie Smith played the accordion for troops during the war.

‘It was the icing on the cake.’

And just as poignantly, the co-owner of Sherlock’s Bar on Clarendon Road baked Maisie’s birthday cake.

Rob adds: ‘I left my phone with my sister which has WhatsApp on it and we called my mum and she was on the phone and they were waving to her on the video call. It was lovely really. It was beautiful.

Maisie in her youth.

‘We phoned her from the party. She loved it.

‘She didn’t know it was going to happen so it was a complete surprise.’

In her youth Maisie would play the accordion for troops in the Second World War.

And on D-Day she played her own special role playing music for the men as they made their final preparations for the invasion of Normandy.

After the war she decided that playing the accordion held too many sad memories so instead opted for the piano which she continued to play until she was 90.

Maisie has tied the knot twice in her lifetime.

First in 1941 to Ron Bartlett, a chief civil engineer who was the co-designer of a new type of bridge – Bailey bridges - during the war which was of great military value because of its capability to take on heavy loading.

Maisie then went on to re-marry in the 1950s to a Royal Marine, Derek Smith.

The centenarian born in Stoke Newington, Hackney, in 1919 puts her longevity down to patience.

She says: ‘The most important lesson I’ve learnt in life is to just be patient.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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