by STACEY HEANEY
Mrs. Wilma Hutchinson has every reason to smile as she celebrates her 100th birthday with husband Kyle, who will himself celebrate his 99th birthday later this year, at Blaris Fold. US2211-114A0 Pic by AIDAN 0'REILLY
Lisburn Mayor Brian Heading pictured with Mrs. Wilma Hutchinson on her 10Oth Birthday at Blaris Fold. US2211- 113AO
THERE were celebrations last Friday as Mrs. Wilma Hutchinson reached her 100th birthday. And there to help her celebrate was her husband of 66 years, Kyle, who will celebrate his 99th birthday later this year.
The former Primary School teacher was joined at her home in Blaris Fold by family, friends, former pupils and special guests as she celebrated her milestone birthday.
Wilma was born on May 27 1911, four days before the Titanic was launched at Harland and Wolff - an incredible eleven months before the historic ship sank on its maiden voyage.
She has lived through the Great War, the 1930s Depression, the Second World War, the first Moon landing in 1969 and the birth of the internet. However, one of the most remarkable feats for the remarkable lady is that she is still happily married to her husband Kyle, who will celebrate his 99th birthday later this year, 66 years after they married while the Second World War still raged.
Wilma and Kyle met in Warrenpoint and have two children, John and Geoffrey. John, a Senior Lecturer at the London School of Economics, flew home to attend his mother's birthday celebration last Friday, whilst Geoffrey is a Financial Advisor in Portland, Oregon.
Wilma and Kyle have two grandchildren, Geoffrey's children Nina and Kyle, and one great granddaughter Lucy.
Wilma received a card from the Queen and a letter from Irish President Mary McAleese.
Speaking about receiving her card from the Queen, Wilma said: "I was very pleased."
She added; "I got flowers from America, I got so many lovely flowers from everywhere."
Former teacher Wilma, who is originally from Ballynure, trained at
Stranmillis College 75 years ago.
She taught across Ireland, Scotland and England and proudly keeps in contact with many of her former pupils.
"I always kept in touch with the children I taught and some of them came to my birthday" she said.
"I'm very appreciative of everyone who made Friday so wonderful, it was marvellous.
"Wilma was also joined at her celebrations by Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Brian Heading.
Wilma and Kyle, who is originally from Dromore, have lived at Blaris Fold for 26 years. The couple have visited the USA on four occasions to visit their son and his family, as well as visiting Louisiana, where they met many friends.
Wilma said: "We still have friends in America, I enjoy it."
The pair enjoy watching football together and they made sure they watched last weekend's Champions League final, whilst Wilma said that Kyle is "a good tennis player."
Wilma said the secret to her and Kyle's long and happy life together is "walking and talking."
She commented: "We are just two ordinary people. We take great pleasure in walking and talking. Walking and talking have kept us alive."
Wilma added: "We have had a very interesting life together meeting all sorts of people."