THERE must be something in the water in Blaenavon, as one care home is home to four residents with a combined age of 403.

Arthur Jenkins Care Home is home to the four centenarians - 102-year-old Sylvia Howells, 101-year-old Winifred Williams and 100-year-olds Betty Price and Vera Price.

Mrs Howells was born in Blaenavon and grew up in the area until she left for London aged 16, where she worked as a housekeeper.

She returned home when the war broke out, holding jobs in North Wales, Bristol and Weston Super Mare.

She met her husband Glyn through a mutual friend at her church in Blaenavon, who she married at 26, and the couple were married for 60 years prior to Mr Howells death 15 years ago.

The couple had one daughter, one granddaughter and two great-granddaughters.

South Wales Argus:

(Sylvia Howells celebrated her 102nd birthday at the Arthur Jenkins Care Home in Blaenavon.)

Speaking at her 102nd birthday party in October, Mrs Howells said: “I never thought I would get to this age.

“I know Blaenavon from left to right. I remember the ironworks opening. My brother and my father worked at Big Pit before it closed.

“I used to love knitting.

“I didn’t really like to go dancing, as I wasn’t much of a dancer. I didn’t have the legs for it.

“I love chatting to the staff here. I also love it when they bring in their babies, I love babies.”

Betty Price was born in Blaenavon, and although she moved away to Risca and Bristol for work, always managed to return to the town to visit family.

Her daughter, Susan Tucker, said: “Mum was in the services in Bristol when she was 17 or 18, but she was always coming back to Blaenavon.

“When my mum and dad – William James ‘Jim’ Price - got married they moved back to Blaenavon – almost next door to where she grew up.

“She was very chapel-orientated since she was young. It was a social hub.

“Even in to her mid-80s, she would be climbing ladders to plant flowers at the chapel.

“She has had a very active lifestyle; I think that has helped her reach 100.

“She always would be looking after people as well, whether it was my dad, who was badly injured during the war, or my grandparents.

“She would even go to Arthur Jenkins to visit friends for about 30 years before she moved there herself.

“She was awarded a certificate from the council for her services to the community.”

Mrs Price has two daughters, Susan and Jillian, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


Town's multi-million pound health centre will include part of historic former hospital'Unknown substance' led to police and paramedics' presence in Pillgwenlly.'We have saved people's lives': Homeless pods get six rough sleepers off the streets of Newport for good

Vera Price celebrated her 100th birthday last September. She was born in Walsall and moved to the town in 1950 after marrying her husband, Gideon James Price, who she met on holiday.

Both Mr and Mrs Price were Methodist preachers until Mr Price’s death 20 years ago.

The couple had two children, Stephen and Gillian.

Mrs Price said: “The town has changed a lot. It has always been a pretty little town. But now, if you go through the town on a Saturday afternoon you don’t see any shops open.

“We had a huge party for my 100th birthday. About 60 people came along. A lot of them had not seen one another for a number of years.

“I was a shorthand typist when I was younger. I worked in all sorts of offices before I got married and became a preacher.

“My favourite job was as a dentist’s assistant. I was there for about eight years before I moved to Wales.

“I loved to travel. I would go with my daughter on holiday to the Greek Islands. I last went when I was 98, but I haven’t been able go for the past two years.”

Mrs Price moved in to Arthur Jenkins in November last year.

South Wales Argus:

(Winifred Williams celebrating her 101st birthday at the Arthur Jenkins Care Home in Blaenavon .

Winifred Williams, known as Win, has lived at Arthur Jenkins Care Home for the past five years.

She was born in Pontnewynydd in 1918. From there she met her husband Thomas James Williams, known as Jim.

They got married when she was 21 and moved to Pontypool.

Mrs Williams used to work at the Royal Ordnance Factory, known as 'The Dump', in Glascoed making ammunition.

She then started working in Panteg Hospital and she was there until she retired. She finished then to look after her husband who had cancer.

Her daughter, Marilyn Gibbings said: “She loved to dance. She went dancing every weekend with her friends. They went wherever there was dancing.

“She also loved going out and walking her dog. She loves animals. Her and my dad had a cat and a dog.”

Mrs Williams has one daughter, and a total of 32 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Home manager at Arthur Jenkins Care Home Jane Saunders said: "It is such a privilege to care for four centenarians, they are all amazing and still able to tell us their life stories.

"Staff are shocked when they tell them about how hard they lived, for example food shortages, rations and how they went into service at young ages."