A FORMER nurse born in the year of the Spanish Flu has celebrated her 102nd birthday in lockdown this week.

Although missing spending her big day with her family, Ellie Marsden says social distancing measures "are a mall price to pay" to keep people safe.

Ellie was born in 1918 in County Cork Ireland one of six children, her father was a tailor and they lived, as many did at the time, on a small farm.

She came to England when she was 17 to start her psychiatric nurse training at Shenley Hospital in Hertfordshire.

She met her husband Joseph while she was there and they married in 1940.

She lived in various parts of the UK whilst Joe was away in the RAF during the war. After the war the couple lived in London, on a houseboat on the Thames at Chiswick, before moving back to her native Ireland and eventually settling in Chester, where Joe’s sisters and mother lived.

Ellie and Joe had seven children, three boys and four girls. Ellie returned to nursing for many years retiring as a Ward Sister in the late 70’s early 80’s from Moston Hospital which at the time was an annex to the Deva Hospital.

Following her retirement she did some voluntary work and helped to look after her eighteen grandchildren - they all look up to her and cherish the memories and the time they spent with her and Joe.

All her grandchildren are now grown up and between them have provided her with twenty great grandchildren with another expected soon.

Ellie had many interests, including gardening, reading, politics and her Catholic faith to name a few and she remains a member of St Columba’s parish.

However, her main interest and source of enjoyment and pleasure are her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Sadly Joe died more than 25 years ago and, until recently, Ellie continued to live in her own home in Plas Newton.

Ellie and her family are very sorry that they won’t be able to celebrate her birthday with her this year on the day but will hopefully do later in the summer.

She is now being well looked after at Upton Dene care home in Chester and the staff there will make it a memorable day for her.

Ellie was born in the year of the Spanish Flu and is now living through the coronavirus - but she says the social distancing we are all enduring in her words “are a small price to pay”.