A resident living at The Salvation Army’s care home in Hassocks, West Sussex, is planning to celebrate her 100th birthday on 11th November, the day the nation will mark the centenary of the end of the first world war.
Dilys Armistice Fox, whose parents gave her the middle name Armistice to acknowledge the significance of her birth on Armistice Day 11th November 1918, entered the world on the day fighting ceased between Britain and its opponents at the end of World War 1. Dilys grew up in the Caerphilly area of Wales before moving to London when she married her husband Henry Fox in 1944, who was in the RAF. Dilys was a children’s nanny for all of her working life and at the outbreak of World War 2 when Henry went away to war, Dilys served her country back home working in an orphanage caring for babies and children, knowing that was where her strengths lay.
After the war, and when Henry left the RAF he worked as a gardener at Windsor Park Gardens Estate, working his way up to become Head Gardener. The couple didn’t have any children of their own but Dilys supported countless families caring for hundreds of babies and young children over fifty years.
Henry sadly died from a heart attack at just 70. Dilys moved to Tunbridge Wells in Kent and lived independently there for many years. After she retired, Dilys remained an active member of her church and supported her local community through many different regular groups and events. With no nearby relatives, and needing a bit of extra day to day support in her 90s, Dilys moved into The Salvation Army’s residential care home in Kent and then transferred to its care home Villa Adastra in Hassocks, West Sussex, in 2013 where she has lived happily since.
Dilys has always kept herself busy and says one of the secrets of living a long life is remaining independent and being strong-willed! At almost 100 years old, Dilys still crochets every day making gifts or blankets when staff and friends of Villa Adastra celebrate special occasions or have babies.
Head of Care at Villa Adastra, Sharon Bacon, The Salvation Army’s care home in Hassocks said: “Dilys is remarkable. We are all so pleased to be planning celebrations for her 100th birthday. All birthdays are special but the older we get, the more special our birthdays become and we always make a fuss of our residents, whatever their age. This year, it is a privilege to be acknowledging Dilys’ significant birthday on the centenary of Armistice Day too.
When word got out in the village, many of the schools and children’s groups contacted me saying they wanted to make cards for Dilys. I have even heard that on 11th November itself, there is talk of the local uniformed groups’ making a detour on their Remembrance Day afternoon parade coming past Villa Adastra to sing Happy Birthday before they carry on into the village. I know that not only Dilys but many of our other residents will appreciate that special gesture. After all, you’re only 100 once and it is fitting we celebrate Dilys’ birthday on 11th November as we also remember those who gave their lives through conflict serving our country,”