believe housing joins Pope and King to wish resident a happy 100th birthdayPublished: Monday 23 October 2023
A former miner and council worker enjoyed three parties and received special messages from the King and the Pope to mark his 100th birthday. (on Saturday, 7 October 2023)
Bobby Johnson was delighted when a birthday card from King Charles and the Queen Consort arrived at his believe housing home in Coundon, County Durham.
And as a devout Catholic, who attends St Joseph’s RC Church in Coundon about four times a week, he was even more moved to receive an Apostolic blessing parchment from Pope Francis.
“I couldn’t believe it at first, I thought it was a joke,” he said.
Mr Johnson was one of eight siblings raised in Coundon, he told Natasha Meite-Mekatoa, a Neighbourhood Officer with housing provider believe housing, who visited him at home with a birthday gift and card.
“I went to London because someone told me the streets were paved with gold, but there was nothing there!” he joked.
That wasn’t quite true, as he met his wife Mary in the capital.
“She worked in a laundry place, and we met in a café opposite it. I worked for the council, and we used to go in there, she came in and sat down and we started talking.
“She was the best thing in London, the only good thing. She proposed to me, we married down there then came back up to my place.”
The couple enjoyed more than 30 years together in Coundon, which included regular dances at The Rink in nearby Spennymoor, until she passed away.
For most of his working life, Mr Johnson was a council worker in Bishop Auckland, having previously been down the pit at Chilton Colliery, and retired from the town’s Escomb Road depot.
He is a Newcastle and Spennymoor football supporter, enjoys country and western music, and a weekly trip to Greggs in Bishop Auckland for a cuppa and a pasty with friends.
Friends and neighbours helped him to celebrate his big birthday, with parties at Howlish Hall Residential Care Home, Coundon and Leeholme Community Centre Welfare Hall, and Bishop Auckland Town Hall.
Natasha said: “Mr Johnson is such a nice man and I know his neighbours and church friends look out for him.
“It is so lovely to help one of our residents celebrate such a landmark birthday and hear about his life, everyone at believe housing sends him their best wishes.”