Don't tell Phyllis! City-wide secret for pensioner's 100th birthday

Phyllis Webster ready to enjoy her 100th birthday in August at the Twin Oaks Care Home at Bowthorpe.

Phyllis Webster ready to enjoy her 100th birthday in August at the Twin Oaks Care Home at Bowthorpe. - Credit: Denise Bradley/Archant 2022

Shhhh ...

Norwich folk have been invited in on a city-wide secret to make a landmark birthday even more special. 

Phyllis Webster is turning 100 on August 14 but her friends and family have come up with the ultimate surprise. 

Throughout her life Phyllis has been a prominent figure across the city - especially alongside her late husband William 'Bill' Webster, also known as 'Mr Norwich in Bloom'.

William and Phyllis Webster on their wedding day in 1942 at St Augustines Church

William and Phyllis Webster on their wedding day in 1942 at St Augustines Church - Credit: Supplied by Terry Bane

So in the run up to her milestone birthday - and unbeknownst to Phyllis - an appeal has been launched to send her birthday cards.

The aim is for Phyllis to receive a card for each year of her life.

A very happy Phyllis Webster ready to enjoy her 100th birthday in August at the Twin Oaks Care Home

A very happy Phyllis Webster ready to enjoy her 100th birthday in August at the Twin Oaks Care Home at Bowthorpe. - Credit: Denise Bradley/Archant 2022

Teresa Davy - who was raised by her grandmother and late grandfather from the age of two - spoke of her overwhelming joy that so many people might get involved.

Bill and Phyllis Webster were invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of their service to Norwich

Bill and Phyllis Webster were invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2004 in recognition of their voluntary service to Norwich - Credit: Supplied by Terry Bane

She said: "We're just trying to keep Nanny away from the papers and she doesn't really look online, so it should stay a surprise until the big day.

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"She's quite local celebrity. She never did anything by halves.

"She worked in post offices and pubs around the city until she retired, while she lived in Friends Road in West Earlham.

Teresa Davy (centre) with her cousins Paul Webster and Lee Webster - Phyllis' grandchildren

Teresa Davy (centre) with her cousins Paul Webster and Lee Webster - Phyllis' grandchildren - Credit: Supplied by Teresa Davy

"My parents had the Adam and Eve and then they had the Nest at Carrow Road for a little while.

"Nanny's quite an avid Canaries fan.

"She used to shout at the telly all the time.

William 'Bill' Webster - Mr Norwich in Bloom - with his wife Phyllis

William 'Bill' Webster - Mr Norwich in Bloom - with his wife Phyllis - Credit: Supplied by Terry Bane

"She's an emotive character. Very special.

"We're over the moon that people are coming together to make her day so special.

"For people to remember her and think of her after all these years means the world."

Phyllis and Bill Webster - wearing a Norwich in Bloom t-shirt

Phyllis and Bill Webster - wearing a Norwich in Bloom t-shirt - Credit: Supplied by Terry Bane

Ahead of her 100th birthday, Phyllis - speaking unaware of the surprise - said: "It meant a lot to support my husband.

"He was a good man.

"People have been so kind to us over the years.

Bill Webster married wife Phyllis in 1942

Bill Webster married wife Phyllis in 1942 - Credit: Supplied by Terry Bane

"I've enjoyed my life. It's had a lot of ups and downs but I've enjoyed it."

The Norwich in Bloom team outside the Assembly House - their adopted headquarters - in the early 2000s

The Norwich in Bloom team outside the Assembly House - their adopted headquarters and a favourite of Phyllis' - in the early 2000s - Credit: Supplied by Terry Bane

Well wishes can be sent to Twin Oaks, 1 Hudson Way, Norwich, NR5 9NJ.

Phyllis lost her husband Bill in 2014 aged 92

Phyllis lost her husband Bill in 2014 aged 92 - Credit: Supplied by Teresa Davy

How the surprise came about

City-based horticulturist Terry Bane - along with Phyllis' family - has been working to spread the word to people who know Phyllis to get 100 cards sent to her ahead of her birthday.

Phyllis Webster and Terry Bane - taken by Phyllis' late husband Bill - at the Royal Norfolk Show in 2005

Phyllis Webster and Terry Bane - taken by Phyllis' late husband Bill - at the Royal Norfolk Show in 2005 - Credit: Supplied by Terry Bane

Liaising with media outlets, spreading the word on social media and speaking to organisations dear to Phyllis' heart, Terry has rallied support across Norwich and beyond.

He said: "I will always have fond memories of Phyllis ironing on sunflower logo transfers for our first homemade Norwich in Bloom shirts.

"I have already been in touch with many Norwich, Anglia and RHS Britain in Bloom Friends who said they will be sending Phyllis a card.

Phyllis Webster ironing on sunflower Norwich in Bloom logos onto t-shirts

Phyllis Webster ironing on sunflower Norwich in Bloom logos onto t-shirts - Credit: Supplied by Terry Bane

"It would be fantastic for Phyllis if she received a 100 birthday cards on her very special day."

As well as a card from the Queen, Terry has organised for the The Lord Mayor and Sherriff of Norwich to send cards alongside former Norwich City goalkeeper Bryan Gunn - which all needs to be a secret until Phyllis' birthday.

Phyllis Webster ready to enjoy her 100th birthday in August at the Twin Oaks Care Home at Bowthorpe.

Phyllis Webster ready to enjoy her 100th birthday in August at the Twin Oaks Care Home at Bowthorpe. With her is Kurtis Reeve, senior carer. - Credit: Denise Bradley/Archant 2022