Thursday was a very special day for Kilfennan man Joseph ‘Joe’ Simpson.
A long-time member of Ebrington Presbyterian Church, he was surrounded by family and friends as he celebrated his 100th birthday.
He is the third member of the Ebrington church family in recent memory, who has celebrated his 100th birthday.
As is traditional, he even received a telegram from HM The Queen, congratulating him on his longevity and wishing him well.
The telegram was one of around 60 to 70 birthday cards of all kinds; humorous, spiritual and unashamedly sentimental.
The ‘Birthday Boy’ was joined in the afternoon by his daughter, Daphne and her husband Fred, who had travelled ‘home’ from Bromley in England, as well as his son Desmond and his wife Gloria (who live in Lurgan), Tom and his wife Daphne, Walter and his wife Bernie, who travelled to the city from Waringstown, and also his son, Stewart, and his wife Dorothy.
Oh, there’s no secret. It is just your luck I would say.Centenarian Mr Joseph Simpson
Joseph also enjoys the love and company of his 15 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and he also dotes on his three great-great-grandchildren.
Sadly, Violet, Joseph’s beloved wife, died several years ago.
The couple were married in Glendermott Parish Cuurch by Rev Wylie on October 18, 1939, and enjoyed 72 wonderful years together before Violet passed on. However, she was very much part of Thursday’s celebrations, with photographs of the couple celebrating their wedding and family pictures prominently placed on the mantlepiece and sideboard cupboard in the good front room, where they vied for position with the myriad of greetings cards.
A sumptuous tea party took place at the Waterside Centenarian’s home in the afternoon, and as the tea flowed and the delicate sandwiches and cream buns and other treats made the rounds, some very important guests arrived at the party.
Former Moderator Rev Dr Rob Craig, popped in to wish him well, accompanied by the current Minister of Ebrington Presbyterian Church, Rev Paul Linkens and the Clerk of Session, Alwyn Wilson.
Later in the day when the family got together at The Belfray on the outskirts of Drumahoe, for an intimate family dinner.
Asked what the secret to his longevity was, Joe said: “Oh, there’s no secret. It is just your luck I would say.”
To mark his birthday Mr Simpson said watched the cricket on television.
See video and more birthday pictures online at www.londonderrysentinel.co.uk