Kitty celebrates 100 with a card from King Charles III

27 Oct 2022

Kitty celebrates 100 with a card from King Charles III & The Queen Consort

Born 18 September 1922, Kitty Stern has been a member of Jewish Care’s Southend & Westcliff Jewish Community Centre for 25 years and is delighted to be amongst the first in the country to receive an official birthday card from His Royal Highness, King Charles III and The Queen Consort wishing her congratulations on her 100th birthday and sending their “sincerest congratulations and warmest good wishes on such a special occasion.”

“I was so pleased to receive the card on Shabbos by special delivery from the King Charles and Queen’s Consort, signed Charles R and Camilla R,” said Kitty.

Kitty’s birthday celebrations began a month ago with family, fellow members and volunteers at the Jewish Care community centre in Cobham Road, with an entertainer playing her favourite music and a tea. During World War II, Kitty served as a Land Girl, which she says is “one of my proudest lifetime achievements” along with bringing up five children. At her party, the Jewish Care community centre staff dressed up as Land Girls for the occasion.

A week after her birthday, Kitty, who has eight grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren, was surprised to receive a visit from the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, who presented Kitty with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a birthday card.

“Everyone has made me so happy,” continues Kitty, “everything about the party was marvellous, the food and entertainment were fantastic and it’s all been wonderful. I never expected all of this. I was so surprised with the visit by the Lord Lieutenant who arrived with a bouquet of flowers and the Mayor of Southend too, it’s been such a wonderful birthday that didn’t seem to be slowing down.

“I love visiting my shul and I love the day centre. We get picked up by our driver who’s so caring, we have a cup of tea or coffee when we arrive then I’m in the choir, The Cobham Singers, so I’ll do some singing and I really enjoy the pottery class with Michelle, the art volunteer, who is so patient and is a lovely lady and I like having a hot meal there three times a week too. Soon I will be travelling to visit my daughter in France, and when I’d turned 90 I went to visit my son in Australia.”

Emma Anderson, Jewish Care Southend & Westcliff Centre Coordinator says, “Kitty she has a great character, she’s full of life, is so friendly and is always chatting to everyone. Kitty and her husband volunteered at the local hospital for many years and she will always happily help others.

“Kitty joins in with everything and is always keen to learn something new. She recently started working with clay, painting and drawing with our new art volunteer, and was proud to have her card made into the Rosh Hashanah card from our Centre.

“She’s incredibly independent for a person of her age. She is always immaculately dressed and the Centre staff and volunteers have given her the nickname the Queen of the Party because she always join in celebrations.”

Jackie, one of Kitty’s daughters who came along to the party, said, “I think the celebrations went very well. The music was great and the staff are brilliant.”

Kitty was born at Mother Levy’s Home, Stepney, London and has lived in Southend for 26 years, moving from Newbury Park.

After Kitty left school, she worked in a millinery before joining the Land Army during World War II, for which she received a medal. Kitty married her first husband, Michael Max Green and had five children becoming a full-time mum, though her husband sadly passed away at the age of 38. Kitty later met Alec, who she was married to for 40 years. Later on, she returned to work for a record company.  

Kitty says her wish is to “try and make the world a better place and bring my family together” and her secret to long life is “saying my prayers and asking for peace on earth”.