Winnie Blagden, who will become a centenarian at the end of the month, during a surprise party at Sheffield Town Hall, Sheffield, England.
Lynne Cameron—PA Photos /Landov
May 30, 2015 11:07 AM EDT

Winnie Blagden turns 100 on Sunday. She has no surviving family to help her celebrate the milestone since the death of her husband George.

So when BBC Radio Sheffield reporter Kat Harbourne heard about Blagden’s situation, she decided to take action.

“Sue [Pinder, one of Blagden’s caretakers] was worried that, as Winnie has no family, she would not have a very good birthday,” Harbourne told the U.K. Telegraph. “We got thinking and decided to put out a small appeal to see if we could get a hundred cards or letters for Winnie to open on her birthday. We’ve been staggered by the response.”

The response was in the form of 16,000 cards and over 200 presents and flowers, all via the Facebook campaign the radio station set up. Well-wishers reached out from as far as Singapore, the U.S. and Taiwan.

During a local reception at Sheffield’s Town Hall (Blagden has lived in the town her whole life), she said, “Everything has been lovely, I’m not used to it. I don’t know why they’re making all this fuss, but I want to thank everyone, it’s been beautiful.”

This article originally appeared on

Contact us at

Read More From TIME

Related Stories