Leeds great gran's tears of joy as she celebrates 100th birthday with family

A great grandma who spent her 99th birthday in lockdown at a Leeds care home is overjoyed to be  celebrating her 100th at home with family today.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 12:45 pm

Frances Heaton's family could not hug on her 99th birthday in March 2020 and had to make do with a tearful socially distanced outdoor visit at her care home.

Mrs Heaton, who said she felt life "a prisoner" in the home, was overwhelmed at being able to celebrate her centenary with family today. (Thurs March 25)

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Frances Heaton is celebrating her 100th birthday Photo: James Hardisty

"It was absolutely fantastic," said Mrs Heaton. "I cried when I got here, I was so relieved to be home. It was so lovely."

Mrs Heaton's daughter Linda Barley, 72, said her mum became emotional at being out of the home and seeing daffodils in bloom on the drive home to Kippax on Monday (March 22).

Mrs Heaton will be going back to the care home this Sunday and will have to isolate for 10 days and then have a Covid test.

Retired primary school teacher Mrs Barley, said: "It felt like a surreal experience to actually have mum at home after so long.

Frances Heaton as a young woman

"Celebrating her 100th birthday will create lifelong memories for all the family."

Frances Dyke was born and grew up in Glazebrook village near Manchester on March 25 1921.

She met her future husband Len Heaton on a beach at Scarborough in 1938 and the couple got married in September 1945.

Len Heaton, who died aged 83 in 2006, served in the RAF during World War Two and was a bomb aimer on Lancaster bombers.

Frances Heaton celebrating her 100th birthday with daughter Linda Barley. Photo: James Hardisty

The couple lived in Harrogate and later in Garforth.

Mrs Heaton, who has three children, four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, is a retired civil servant.

"I have just lived a quiet life, I haven't done anything to excess," she said.

"I looked after my children and they have all done very well and I'm very proud of them."

Centenarian Frances Heaton Photo: James Hardisty

Mrs Heaton uses an iPad to surf the internet, FaceTime her family and play word games online.

Mrs Barley said the first lockdown in March 2020 happened two weeks before a planned party on her mother’s 99th birthday.

Family members had to stay six feet away from her during an outdoor visit to the home.

Mrs Barley told the YEP last November: “It was horrendous. Everybody was trying to be happy, but we were all in tears. Mum was upset as well."

Mrs Barley has previously called on the Government to ease restrictions on relatives visiting care homes.

Frances on her wedding day in September 1945 with husband Len Heaton
Frances Heaton pictured on her 99th birthday on the balcony at her care home
Frances Heaton pictured with family on her 98th birthday
Frances Heaton (pictured fourth from right) on her 90th birthday at Oulton Hall.