WATCH | Fish Hoek gran celebrates 96th birthday while social distancing

25 March 2020 - 10:38 By Nivashni Nair
Betty Tilling turned 96 on Sunday.
Betty Tilling turned 96 on Sunday.
Image: supplied

A Fish Hoek woman's family were not on the fence on how to celebrate her 96th birthday, instead they were behind it.

Betty Tilling's grandchildren and great-grandchildren celebrated her birthday “from afar” while practising social distancing on Sunday.

Tilling sat in the yard with her daughter, Cathy Dippnall, and her son-in-law Kelvin, while granddaughter Heather Mitchell and her husband Alan, and two sons, Ethan and Connor, celebrated on the driveway.

“We had to celebrate my mom's great achievement and all the best-laid plans were flattened, so tea and black forest cake was the best we could do. Fish Hoek is very windy so we didn't even bother to struggle with candles. So once everyone had a piece of cake, they sang Happy Birthday. My daughter's like me, rallying the reluctant troopers to sing.

“The family arrived and, due to the wind, sheltered close to the car. I think the boys thought it rather funny. My mom took it in her stride and we did too,” Dippnall said.

Tilling's sons, who live overseas, wished her via Skype and WhatsApp videocalling.

“My daughter works at a retirement home nearby and had heard how children hugging and kissing grandparents passed on the disease to them. So it is important to us to take social distancing and lockdown seriously. Celebrating mom's birthday was important to me as she and her generation are built of sterner stuff, she takes half a blood pressure tablet and hates other meds.

“Kelvin, mom and I live together, so social distancing between us isn't necessary, but is as important for us too,” Dippnall said.


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