A right Royal celebration in Westcliff

By Pat Lidiker

IT was a history in the making when Kitty Stern celebrated her 100th birthday in style at Jewish Care’s Southend & Westcliff Jewish Community Centre.

Just weeks after the passing of the Queen, she became one of the first people in the country to receive a signed birthday card from the new King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla.

 It was highly fitting as Kitty herself has been crowned Queen of the Party by volunteers because of her love of joining in everything, so much so that her birthday celebrations lasted a whole month!

Highlights included visits from well-wishers including the mayor of Southend and Lord Lieutenant of Essex, as well as a special Land Girls party for members, staff and volunteers at the centre. Some dressed up in the same headscarves and dungarees worn by Kitty herself when she ‘dug for victory’ during World War II.

Very much an Essex girl, Kitty and her husband raised their family in Newbury Park before moving to Southend to be near one of their daughters. Another lives in Paris, her son in Australia while two other daughters have sadly passed away.

She now lives in an apartment close to the centre, where she is one of its most active members.

Centre coordinator Emma Anderson told the Essex Jewish News: “Kitty is a great character, always immaculately dressed, full of life and chats to everyone. She and her husband volunteered at the local hospital for many years and she is still happy to help others.

“Even at the grand old age of 100 it seems she has no intention of slowing down. She sings
in the centre’s own Cobham Choir and is constantly keen to learn something new. Kitty even recently started working with clay, as well as enjoying painting and drawing with our new art volunteer.”

Another treat for Kitty was seeing her design – which she created at an art session – was made into the centre’s Rosh Hashanah card this year.

Kitty Stern with her signed birthday card from King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla – photo by Mike Stone Photography



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