ONE of Oxford's oldest tower block residents celebrated her 100th birthday with a steady stream of socially-distanced family and friends.

Cissie Joyce McHale received visitors at her flat in Plowman Tower in Headington, where she has lived since the tower was first built in 1965.

Mrs McHale, known to everyone as Joyce, celebrated her centenary yesterday with groups of friends and family who visited throughout the day.

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Born in Banbury in 1920, the centenarian has lived in Oxford for over 50 years.

She has two children – her son Kevin, 72, and her daughter Maurine, 79, who lives in the US, near Seattle.

Kevin organised for various friends and family members to visit his mum to mark the special occasion.

He said: “It was a complete surprise – mum did not know anyone was coming – so I arranged different people to come in different shifts to obey social distancing.”

Oxford Mail:

Mrs McHale and her family moved into Plowman Tower, Headington, when the building was first built in 1965.

Plowman was one of the first tower blocks built in Oxford and was named after Harry Plowman, the town clerk of Oxford between 1945-1965.

Mrs McHale has now been a resident at the tower for more than 55 years.

While Kevin was able to join his mother in celebrations, Maurine could not join due to travel restrictions.

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Maurine and her family usually come over every September to celebrate Mrs McHale’s birthday, but their plans were cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

The mother and daughter celebrated the birthday virtually over video chat instead.

Mrs McHale also has two grandchildren – her grandson Robert, 46, and granddaughter Phaedra, 44.

Yesterday a ‘stream of different people were in and out of the house all day’.

Oxford Mail:

Mrs McHale said she had been ‘amazed by the number of cards, presents and balloons’ she received that filled up the living room.

Yesterday morning Mrs McHale also received a particularly special birthday card from the Queen, which has now been framed and placed on the living room wall.

Mrs McHale was joined for celebrations with her nieces who she had not seen in over six months due to the national lockdown.

While living in Oxford Mrs McHale had several jobs including working at the now closed department store Webber’s.

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She also worked at the arts and crafts store Brush & Compass which used to be located on Broad Street.

When speaking of the jobs she has had, Mrs McHale said the city centre had ‘changed a lot. So many shops have come and gone since then’.

Mrs McHale is now part of various social groups in the Headington area, including the local over-50s group whose members sent her ‘lovely flowers’ yesterday.

Mrs McHale is also part of the Salvation Army where she has been volunteering for many years.