Members of the Whiteley 100 Club share their stories

2nd January 2020

Since this was published, one of our interviewees, Dorothy Gayler sadly passed away on 29 January 2020. Her daughter Sandy has however kindly given us permission to keep the story on our website in memory of her amazing mum.

Two of our amazing centenarians – Freda Hodgson 106 and Dorothy Gayler 101, agreed to share their fascinating life stories and pearls of wisdom with for their ‘Let’s Talk About Care: 100 Club’ podcast series recently. Their interviews, which also feature Dorothy’s daughter Sandy Harriman, Dr Alison Armstrong, our Director of Community and Foundation and Maria Baligasa one of our Senior Carers, are now available online.

After her glamorous younger years growing up in a castle and being presented to King George V and Queen Mary as a debutante, our oldest resident Freda tells of her move to Zimbabwe. After fighting began there she talks of the heartbreaks and hardships she faced before being forced to return to England – and her final arrival at Whiteley Village over 30 years ago. Despite such dramatic upheavals in her life and “feeling 200 years old”, this incredible lady attributes her longevity and resilience to good old-fashioned stubbornness!

Dorothy also speaks movingly about the impact of war on her family; never meeting her father after losing him in WW1, and her experiences of living through WW2, waiting for her husband to come home from the fighting and the constant fear of air aids. But she also recalls the excitement of watching the moon landings and the delight of finally getting a colour TV! Dorothy is an extra special member of the ‘100 Club’ too, as she’s our only resident to have her daughter (Sandy) and her Goddaughter living in the Village too.

We’re incredibly proud that Whiteley currently has no less than nine centenarians! What better testament to the strength of our community, which as Alison goes on to explain is a key factor in supporting longevity. But it’s also evidence of the excellent care and support provided here by staff like Maria, who talks about her love of caring for others and her commitment to helping our residents “feel good about themselves”.

You can hear their stories in full now on’s Let’s Talk About Care podcast and thank you to the residents and staff who took part.

Photo left to right: Sandy Harriman and Dorothy Gaylor; Maria Baligasa and Freda Hodgson. Photo by kind permission of 

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