'Gobsmacked' 100-year-old with no close family is sent 10,000 birthday cards

Victoria Bell
·3 min read
Lillian Greenway celebrates her 100th birthday with help from her carers and surrounded by hundreds of cards and gifts from wellwishers. See SWNS story SWMDbirthday. A centenarian with no close surviving family was surprised with 10,500 cards and gifts from strangers around the world to mark her milestone 100th birthday.  Lillian Greenway was left overwhelmed after being inundated with presents from thousands of well-wishers following an appeal from her care home. Staff members at Heartlands Care and Nursing Home in Yardley, Birmingham, took to Facebook earlier this month in the hope of getting 100 cards for her 100th birthday. The next day they received 250 in the post and since then a total of 10,000 cards and 500 gifts have landed on the doorstep.
Lillian Greenway celebrates her 100th birthday with help from her carers and surrounded by hundreds of cards and gifts from wellwishers. (SWNS)

A centenarian with no close surviving family was given a 100th birthday to remember after hundreds of strangers sent her thousands of cards and gifts from around the world.

Lillian Greenway was left overwhelmed after being sent 10,000 cards and 500 presents from well-wishers following an online appeal from her care home.

Staff at Heartlands Care and Nursing Home in Yardley, Birmingham, posted their appeal on Facebook earlier this month in a bid to get 100 cards, fearing Lillian would have nothing to open.

The next day they received 250 cards in the post and since then a total of 10,000 cards and 500 gifts have landed on the doorstep after the appeal went viral.

They have been sent from as far away as Australia, South America, Singapore, China and the US.

Watch: Veteran receives 2,700 cards on 100th birthday

Lillian Greenway celebrates her 100th birthday with help from her carers and surrounded by hundreds of cards and gifts from wellwishers. See SWNS story SWMDbirthday. A centenarian with no close surviving family was surprised with 10,500 cards and gifts from strangers around the world to mark her milestone 100th birthday.  Lillian Greenway was left overwhelmed after being inundated with presents from thousands of well-wishers following an appeal from her care home. Staff members at Heartlands Care and Nursing Home in Yardley, Birmingham, took to Facebook earlier this month in the hope of getting 100 cards for her 100th birthday. The next day they received 250 in the post and since then a total of 10,000 cards and 500 gifts have landed on the doorstep.
Greenway was inundated with surprise presents from well-wishers following an appeal from her care home. (SWNS)

Stacey Debney, the care home's customer relations manager, said she believes it would take the pensioner another month to open them all.

Lillian, who was born on February 13, 1921 in Birmingham, has lived through 25 prime ministers and four monarchs.

The royal family fan, who was given a red carpet to walk down as she celebrated her big day with a party at the care home, received a card from The Queen.

Stacey, 32, said Lillian was left gobsmacked by the generosity of people who helped make her milestone birthday such a special occasion.

She said: "We were just stunned by the response. I think people wanted to give her a boost at a time when most are feeling sad and deflated during lockdown.

"We could not believe how many were arriving each day, it was becoming a health and safety hazard.

Lillian Greenway celebrates her 100th birthday with help from her carers and surrounded by hundreds of cards and gifts from wellwishers. See SWNS story SWMDbirthday. A centenarian with no close surviving family was surprised with 10,500 cards and gifts from strangers around the world to mark her milestone 100th birthday.  Lillian Greenway was left overwhelmed after being inundated with presents from thousands of well-wishers following an appeal from her care home. Staff members at Heartlands Care and Nursing Home in Yardley, Birmingham, took to Facebook earlier this month in the hope of getting 100 cards for her 100th birthday. The next day they received 250 in the post and since then a total of 10,000 cards and 500 gifts have landed on the doorstep.
Staff members at Heartlands Care and Nursing Home in Yardley, Birmingham, took to Facebook earlier this month in the hope of getting 100 cards for her 100th birthday. (SWNS)

We are slowly getting through the cards... our grand total is now 10’051!!! We can’t believe it! 💖 We have 14 huge sacks...

Posted by Heartlands Care Home on Monday, 15 February 2021

"But we are so grateful for the kindness of people, it shows there is still good in the world at a time when it all appears to be doom and gloom.

"We kept them as a surprise and her face was a picture. She couldn't even open them all on the day, I think it will take another month or so to get through them all.

"She's had hampers, a teddy bear, a wig and tiara - which she wore for her party - and all sorts, many were decked in her favourite colour purple."

Lillian, who is affectionally known as the 'Lilac Queen' as she loves to wear purple clothes, has lived at the home for six years.

A local seamstress made her a purple velvet dress for her big day, while a police officer sent her a jigsaw puzzle, Morrisons laid on a buffet and Warburtons sent her cakes.

Lillian grew up in Sheldon, Birmingham, and lived in the Moseley area of the city for most of her life.

She worked for an aerospace company from the age of 14 and later started a greengrocer business with her late husband George, who passed away in the 1980s.

Watch: 100-year-old veteran gets 160 birthday cards after social media plea