Celebrating 100

John Durley presents his mother Helen with greetings from the Vatican. VOICE PHOTO

Helen Durley hits the century mark, receives birthday wishes from near and far


Helen Durley, resident at Shorthills Villa Retirement Community, celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday, January 5. Some 150 people including family and friends were present to celebrate the milestone occasion. Son and former Pelham Town Councillor John Durley said she is the last living member of her family.

“We thank God she has lived to be 100 and hope she continues to live happily and healthy for as long as God lets her.”

John and the family extended a thank you to everyone who took the time to celebrate with her. Attendees included Pelham Mayor Marvin Junkin, Niagara West MP Dean Allison, City of Welland Ward 2 Councillor and Vice-Mayor Leo VanVliet, and former Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor.

Helen was presented certificates from Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Governor General Julie Payette, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the Diocese of St. Catharines, and the Vatican.

Described as having a “gift of the gab,” and as a “strong, determined and faithful lady,” Helen Durley contributed 45 years of volunteer work in the city of Welland, earning her numerous awards and honours, including being named one of 30 Niagara Centre riding residents who received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012.

Craitor said that he had attended several 100th birthday milestone celebrations during his political career and this was the largest yet.

Adding to the celebratory festivities was the Niagara musical trio The Mantini Sisters, who performed a variety well-known musical hits from the 1950s and 1960s.


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