Hospital staff help patient celebrate 103rd birthday

Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2023 10:52 AM

Hospital staff help patient celebrate 103rd birthday

John Carr, known to all as Jack, was treated to a birthday cake and a card by staff at King’s Mill Hospital as he celebrated his 103rd birthday on Monday 8 May 2023. Staff on 41 decorated his room with bunting, flags and balloons so Jack didn’t miss out on celebrating his big day with his family.

Born in 1920, Jack lived most of his life in Whitley Bay in the Newcastle area before moving to Farnsfield with his late wife around 2000.

Jack, who is the oldest current inpatient at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is recovering from pneumonia and is hoping to return home soon. It’s only his second ever hospital stay having had surgery for a broken hip a few years ago.

Jack, who served in the Royal Engineers from 1940-1946, was stationed in Madagascar, Kenya and Sudan, where he helped to build landing strips, roads, railways and bridges. He says he was the only soldier in his group of 20 who didn’t get Malaria.

When asked what his secret was to a long life, he said: “I was going to say it was no excesses but that isn’t true because I was a beer drinker for a long time, and I liked my white rum, syrup and soda in Madagascar.

“There was no bread or potatoes there, so we ate rice that had ants in it - maybe there’s something in ants!” he joked.

Staff Nurse Dean Minett, who presented Jack with a commemorative mug* to mark the Coronation of His Majesty The King at the weekend, said it was a pleasure caring for him.

“Jack is incredible. He’s very motivated and can’t wait to go home. He never wants to stay in bed – only to sleep, and he is more mobile than some patients who are 30 years younger. He’s a credit to his family who are really supportive.”

His two sons, Martin, who is visiting from his home in Spain, and Peter, who lives in Farnsfield, put their father’s advancing years down to hard work.

When Jack was 14 he worked 70 hours a week in a greengrocers. After serving in the Armed Forces, he helped to set up an onshore drilling company that was described as ‘his life’.

His sons described him as an ‘independent spirit who was always on the go, but had never exercised in his life’. 

Peter described his father’s care at King’s Mill as incredible. “We’ve been amazed at how good it’s been. You almost forget it’s a hospital,” he said, as he thanked all the staff.

Despite King Charles III being the fifth Monarch in his lifetime, Jack, who has six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, said he wasn’t too interested in watching the Coronation and joked he would rather go fishing.

Happy Birthday to Jack from all at Sherwood Forest Hospitals!

*The League of Friends (Mansfield and Sutton) and The Friends of Newark Hospital very kindly funded commemorative mugs for inpatients, along with teddies for Maternity and Children’s services – a huge thanks to all involved for ensuring patients had the opportunity to mark this historic occasion.

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