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Joyce celebrates landmark 100th birthday with letters from Michael D and Queen Elizabeth

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A CENTENARIAN, living in West Clare, recently celebrated her birthday with a letter from two heads of state.
Joyce Mabel Heppell lives at St Theresa’s Nursing Home in Kilrush, where staff and residents helped her to mark the milestone birthday on April 14.
Joyce Mabel Heppell née Morris was born in 1921 in London and grew up in the family-owned sweet shop in Ealing. Joyce had one sibling, a sister who passed away around 50 years ago.
At the outset of World War II, Joyce volunteered to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), being posted to a radar site on the Thames estuary in Kent.
The low point of this time was a period of three weeks, when there were only sardines to eat.
After the war, Joyce joined the Foreign Office and went to Moscow, Washington and later to Paris. The birth of her son brought Mabel back to England to live in Surrey and work at the Department of Social Security.
During this time, Joyce and her husband Charles bought a mobile home in the South of France for their holidays. After retiring they split their time between France and England.
Joyce’s son Brian moved to Doonbeg and, after a short holiday visit to Kilrush, Mabel and Charles decided to retire permanently to Ireland.
They bought a house just outside Kilrush on the Doonbeg Road. After the passing of Charles, Joyce moved to Doonbeg and became well known in the community over the last 15 years. Brian continues to live in Doonbeg and his daughter, Joyce’s grand-daughter, Kate lives in Manchester.
In her youth Joyce loved music and dancing and was known to enjoy ballroom dancing in her younger days and to play the double manual organ.
In her retirement she was a member of the ‘Doonbeg Ladies’ and enjoyed many social occasions in the local area.
Now Joyce has retired again to live happily at St Theresa’s Nursing Home. She celebrated her 100th birthday with her fellow residents, staff and her son Brian toasting her with champagne on her amazing achievement.
Joyce’s puppy Toby, named after a childhood pet, also visited on the special day. Toby is now a regular at St Theresa’s and joins Brian on every visit.
Joyce received many cards and letters including a letter from the President of Ireland with her cheque and she also received a birthday card from the Queen of England.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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