Caring Josephine celebrates her 100th birthday in Morecambe

A well known member of the community celebrated her 100th birthday at The Glen care home in Morecambe.

By Michelle Blade
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 4:55 am
Josephine Donohoe celebrated her 100th birthday in style.
Josephine Donohoe celebrated her 100th birthday in style.

Due to Covid restrictions, only Josephine Donohoe's foster son Robert Macdonald, his wife Dr Shirley Macdonald and staff at The Glen were able to be there on her special day.

Josephine was presented with balloons, flowers, cards and fizz for her 100th birthday celebrations.

Josephine was born on January 20 1922 in Whitehaven to Joseph and Annie Hill, the fifth child in a family of six, three boys and three girls.

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Josephine Donohoe in her younger years.

She attended Monksray Junior School and later Whitehaven Senior School.

When she was 15-years-old her father’s company transferred him from his position in Whitehaven to a new position in Kendal and all the family moved there with him.

At the age of 15 Josephine took up employment in the advertising office at the famous K Shoe Factory where she worked for several years before taking up a position as a typist at Collin Croft Brewery in Kendal.

It was at this time that Josephine developed an interest in the caring professions and attended night school to learn first aid and home nursing.

Albert and Josephine Donohoe on their wedding day in 1943.

She was quickly accepted by the Matron at Kendal Hospital to work evenings as a nursing auxiliary.

Whilst living in Kendal she met the love of her life Albert Donohoe, who was at the time a regular seaman in the Royal Navy working primarily on submarines in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

They were married at Kendal Catholic Church on October 20 1943.

It became evident that Josephine and Albert would not be able to have children of their own.

This led to them seeking to become House parents, looking after children who for one reason or another had been received into the care.

After a successful interview at County Hall in Preston Josephine and Albert were offered a brand-new Lancashire County Council family group home in Turks Road, Radcliffe, near Manchester, which they joyfully accepted.

They moved there on August 1 1954. Albert continued to work as an electrician in the day, whilst Josephine ran the Children’s home, with the help of another housemother and a cleaner.

Josephine and Albert stayed in Radcliffe for 12 years during which time they cared for lots of children, most of whom were there for the whole of that time and who made lasting bonds with the couple that remain to this day.

In 1966 Josephine was appointed Superintendent of a larger children’s home in Bolton-le-sands where she continued her valuable work for a further 12 years, again looking after many children during the course of that time.

From there Josephine took a slightly different position in the caring profession, she was offered the role of Deputy Warden at Riverview Training Centre in Lancaster which catered for adults who were leaving The Royal Albert Hospital and being discharged into the community.

From there Josephine transferred work to Thorpe View Training Centre in Torrisholme to work with younger adults with learning difficulties, teaching them skills for independent living.

It was there that Josephine ended her full time employment of 27 years with Lancashire County Council.

In retirement she worked for the WRVS at both the Beaumont Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary and also at Lancaster Farms Young Offender Institute.

She lived in Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank and whilst there attended St Mary & All Angels Catholic Church.

Later she moved to Hest Bank, then Bare where she became a regular parishioner at St Mary’s Church in Morecambe.

Her husband Albert passed away in 1996 aged 77.

Josephine also has one remaining brother Harry who lives in Bolton-le-Sands and will be 102 years old this year.