Winnie Blagden

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At Human, we were all saddened to hear of the passing of Sheffield centenarian Winnie Blagden yesterday.

Winnie hit the headlines five months ago when a local radio station launched a campaign to help her celebrate her 100th birthday. She had no family and very little contact with the outside world. But all that changed when one of her carers approached Radio Sheffield to see if the 100 year-old could visit, as a special birthday treat.

Touched by Winnie’s story, the station decided to go one stage further and organised a special surprise party in her honour. The campaign attracted global attention and Winnie received more than 16,000 birthday cards from well-wishers including Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman and Prime Minister David Cameron. The response from many local businesses was equally admirable, with many coming forward pledging gifts ranging from spa days and limousine trips to fish suppers and needless to say, endless bundles of flowers.

We were proud to be amongst one of those businesses, but we also recognised that a simple card on a special day wasn’t really enough. We wanted to let Winnie know we were all still thinking of her throughout the year. Consequently we, as a team, continued to regularly write to Winnie over the following weeks and months, exchanging stories and small talk,  she always looked forward to receiving.

Winnie passed away peacefully in her own home yesterday and on behalf of all at Human, we’d like to express our sadness of the loss of a remarkable lady, who herself showed the spirit of South Yorkshire but also helped mobilise the local community, showing the character which helps to make Sheffield and South Yorkshire such a truly special part of the world.

You can read more about Winnie’s story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-34502658