PMB home celebrates two centenarians

2016-02-17 10:03
Marian Simmons celebrates her 103rd birthday with her best friend Roger, the border collie who turns 105 next week in dog years, at the Emma Barter Home.

Marian Simmons celebrates her 103rd birthday with her best friend Roger, the border collie who turns 105 next week in dog years, at the Emma Barter Home. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Celebrating her 103rd birthday yesterday, Marian Simmons was joined by her best friend Roger, the border collie as he celebrated his 105th birthday too.

With her hair curled and a fresh coat of red lipstick, the Emma Barter Home resident petted Roger as he lay panting, looking up at Simmons fondly.

Roger sat next to Simmons as she cut into a pink and white cake to the cheers of the home’s residents in ­celebration of the two friends’ ­milestone birthdays.

Roger, the fluffy canine of Emma Barter sister Pat Ferguson, first ­attached himself to Simmons when he started visiting the home four years ago.

The two became fast friends with Roger seeking out Simmons each Thursday when he faithfully came to visit.

Yesterday, Simmons celebrated her birthday with Roger who turns 105 (15 in human years) next week.

Simmons was born in February 1913 in Lancashire, England, and arrived in South Africa 35 years ago after she ­retired as a hairdresser.

She had started her career as a ­hairdresser at the tender age of 14 and retired when she turned 60.

After the death of her husband and having no children of her own, she started work as a caregiver to people and their animals.

Simmons has lived at Emma Barter for 15 years where she has made friends, her best friend being Roger.

Simmons said she was happy to be celebrating her birthday with Roger, whom she loves dearly.

Emma Barter Home manager ­Henry Spencer said it was a special day for the home to have birthdays for both Roger and Simmons who had passed the 100-year milestone.

He said Roger had been a vital part of Simmons’s life as well as the other residents’ and he had helped ­“immensely” with the pet therapy of residents suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.

He said a “lovely time” was had by all the residents and the staff.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  birthday  |  celebration

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