Birthday celebrations for century old Elizabeth Moran

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Elizabeth with one of her many relatives who travelled from overseas-Sue Cassidy from Philadelphia

There was a very special event in Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield when Cork-born Elizabeth Moran celebrated her 100th birthday.

A large group of family and friends, including those from Ireland and the USA, attended a special Mass in her honour at the Sacred Heart Church in Four Oaks and later celebrated Elizabeth’s birthday with a wonderful party in the adjoining Parish Centre.

Elizabeth whose maiden name was Kelly was born in Killeagh near Youghal in County Cork on February 16th, 1916-one of a family of nine. In 1936,Elizabeth came to England,working for time in Nottingham,she later moved to Birmingham where she married Michael Moran, a native of Kimovee, County Mayo.

The couple were married at St Mary’s Church in Harborne on April 14th,1941 and then in 1972 moved back to live in Ireland for six years where a change of plan resulted in the family moving back to Birmingham, which from then on became their adopted home.

Four children were born; Mary, Elizabeth, Michael and Kevin-and these days there are 10 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Sadly Elizabeth’s husband Michael passed away seven years ago. Only two years ago, Elizabeth moved to a residential care home near Lichfield.

With her family reared and at the age of fifty, Elizabeth decided to embark on a new career and for 15 years she worked in the china department in the former Lewis` store in Bull Street in Birmingham city centre. Elizabeth also still recalls her month-long trip to New York in 1969,organised by the late Galwayman Joe Ryan who established Galway Travel at the Irish Centre in Digbeth.

Elizabeth attends Mass several times each week and keeps herself active watching and listening to quiz shows. Her recipe for a long life? -a small tot of brandy each evening!

Of the original Kelly family of nine, only Elizabeth`s sister Ellen, (who is just 93 years young) is still alive. Ellen travelled from her home in Eastleigh in Hampshire to join in her sister`s special birthday celebrations.

In a special tribute to Elizabeth, Canon David Cousins who celebrated the special Mass with Fr. Michael Ho, reminded the attendance that when Elizabeth was born, Ireland had not yet gained its independence- there were no TV`s, washing machines or telephones in the home, she lived through two world wars and Elizabeth saw Man walk on the Moon, shared the tragedy of the death of JFK and, in recent times saw the birth of the computer, mobile phones and Sat Navs!

And finally, just to add to the icing on Elizabeth`s birthday cake -on February 16th she received a special Birthday card from Buckingham Palace, a telegram from Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State and a signed letter of congratulations from Irish President, Michael D Higgins.