Chichester retirement community celebrates resident’s 105th birthday

Residents at a retirement development in Chichester recently came together to mark their much-loved neighbour, Catherine Lambert’s 105th birthday, with a surprise party.
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Alongside the Estate Manager, residents at Byron Court - an independent retirement living development, managed by FirstPort – gathered in the communal lounge at Byron Court, to surprise Mrs Lambert with cake and drinks to toast the remarkable occasion.

Born in 1918, Mrs Lambert has held a lifelong passion for arts and literature alongside her late husband, Jack, who held the position of Literary and Arts Editor at the Sunday Times, following an outstanding career in the wartime navy.

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Mrs Lambert also enjoyed her own successful career in the arts, after attending Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art, graduating with a gold medal for acting and a teaching certificate in 1940. Mrs Lambert would go onto find her passion for teaching, both academically, holding positions at the London College of Dance and Drama, the British Theatre Association and the Royal College of Music, as well as working one-to-one with artistes from the stage and opera, as well as ministers of the church as a voice coach.

Mrs Lambert celebrating her 105th birthday.Mrs Lambert celebrating her 105th birthday.
Mrs Lambert celebrating her 105th birthday.

At the National Portrait Gallery in London, she also gave talks on the actress, Dame Ellen Terry and the singer, Jenny Lind.

With a wealth of experiences as a performer, teacher, writer and critic, alongside her husband’s naval and journalistic careers, Mrs Lambert wrote a book, My Life With Jack, which was published privately in 2018.

Today, Mrs Lambert remains a keen supporter of the arts, and is enjoying life at Byron Court, where she has an active social life. Mrs Lambert said: “Byron Court has proved to be an ideal place to live where I can be independent but I know there's help at hand if needed and, of course, the location in the vibrant and interesting town of Chichester is the icing on the cake.

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“I knew Chichester well from the days when Jack and I would come down for him to review plays at the Festival Theare – we visited it in its opening season - and this is why I settled on Byron Court, which is a perfect location.”

After the surprise celebrations with her fellow residents, Mrs Lambert added: “I simply could not believe my eyes – I looked around and saw lots of happy faces, lots of balloons and decorations and then I was given the place of honour under the Happy Birthday banner.

“The cake was as delicious to eat as it was to look at – bubbly was served, Happy Birthday was sung, I got three cheers. I cannot believe the amount of trouble Pride, Leslie and their teams had taken to make my day so special and cannot thank them enough.”

Pride Daniel, Estate Manager at FirstPort, which manages Byron Court, said: “We’re delighted that Mrs Lambert enjoyed her birthday celebrations. Mrs Lambert is a big part of the wonderful community that we have here at Byron Court, and it was fantastic to see so many residents at the party.”

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When asked the secret to a long, happy life, Mrs Lambert concluded: “Being useful to others, having a loving and supportive family, and perhaps most of all, luck. I also believe in trying to make the best of things and positive thinking, my mantra is ‘Corners up!”

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