Dickie Rock and Mary Wells at Carrickbeg Community Hall
A Carrick-on-Suir woman celebrated her 100th birthday in style with showbiz legend Dickie Rock at the weekend.
Family and friends of centenarian Mary Wells (née Fahey) packed into Carrickbeg Community Hall to mark the milestone on Saturday.
An avid singer, Mary became renowned for her Candy Store party piece over the years, to the extent that Rock was keen to see it live. He visited Mary at her current residence, Greenhill Nursing Home, for her 98th birthday party. The craic was mighty at that occasion, encouraging Mary’s family to organise a secret guest appearance from the singer at the centenarian celebration.
A thrilled Mary sang along with Rock before the pair had a wonderful chat afterwards on Saturday. The band Local Road with musicians Phila Grace, Dermot Foley, Willie Stuart, Chris O’Brien, Billy Byrne and Gay Brazel also entertained the crowd.
Carrickbeg and Windgap parish priest Fr. Tom Flynn and Rock then accompanied Mary in reading a framed personal letter from President Michael D Higgins, congratulating her on reaching the milestone.
Mary said she couldn’t believe she was actually 100. She recalled her mother and father taking her and her siblings from their home on Mill Road, as it was then known, when the floods came on a horse and cart to Wilmor Cottages.
Mary then moved to London at the age of 16, working as a maid for Lord and Lady Ormond on Bryanston Square. She said that they were wonderful people, that they treated her like one of their own, were always asking about the people of Carrick-on-Suir and made sure she was happy living with them.
Mary returned to Carrick-on-Suir at the start of World War II in 1939. “Her dad was an ex soldier and didn’t want her going back to England when the war was on,” Mary’s daughter, Geraldine, told The Nationalist.
Mary married Timothy Wells, who worked in the Tannery, in 1942, eventually settling down in Carrickbeg. The mother of Eddie, Patricia, Ann, Don, Marie, Helen, Tony, Noel and Geraldine was kept busy rearing her family.
Paying tribute to her mother, Geraldine said Mary’s “outgoing” nature and “frame of mind” have helped her reach 100.
“She has always loved music and would always have the radio playing. She would go around to the country pubs with our dad and his band to places like Delaney’s in the Slate Quarries, Power’s in Tullahought and out to Rathgormack,” Geraldine said.
“She was always in a good mood, had an open door, was friendly, outgoing and didn’t worry too much. She never had to take a tablet until she hit 90. She can still trace back old times, knows who we are, and can still have a joke and a laugh,” she added.