East Ham woman’s 90th birthday coincided with Olympics opening

10:00 31 July 2012

Sylvia pictured at her home with daughter Helen. Picture: Steve Poston

Sylvia pictured at her home with daughter Helen. Picture: Steve Poston

Archant

She saw King George V, remembers the Second World War, the accession of Queen Elizabeth II and her subsquent jubilees.

Sylvia with her first daughterSylvia with her first daughter

Now, Sylvia Power has celebrated her 90th birthday. And by a happy coincidence it fell Friday, on the day the London 2012 Olympics opened.

However happy is not an adjective she would use to describe her life during which she was widowed twice and left to raise her four children alone.

Her first husband died during World War Two, just months before it ended, leaving her with a tiny baby, her first daughter Helen. As a war widow in Manor Park she was denied council housing by the authorities who said she and her daughter were not a family.

She finally found a place to live with the help of one of her sisters but ended up sending her daughter to boarding school as she had to go out to work. The memories are so painful they bring tears despite the many years that have passed.

Although Sylvia remarried John Power in 1954 she was widowed again when he died in March 1970. Sylvia was left to raise four children by herself.

Now she is the grandmother of eight and the great grandmother to a great grand daughter.

Sylvia, who lives in Wilson Road, East Ham, is looking forward to watching the Olympic Games on TV and is philosophical about her life.

She told the Recorder she will be celebrating her birthday a week earlier at West Ham’s grounds in Upton Park with family and friends.

Sylvia is a stauncg supporter of the club and was a long time friend of the mother of David Gold.

She will be joined by her children, Jonathan, 46, Anne Kelly, 52, David, 56, and Helen, 67, their families and friends.

She is the youngest of seven sisters born in Bow. They have all passed away.

Sylvia remembers that it was “love at first sight” when she met her first husband Ralph Cummins during the Second World War while evacauted to Somerset.

He was with the Somerset Light Infantry and was home on leave in 1942 when they met at a party. Sylvia was working for the Air Ministry. The couple married in 1942 at St Barnabas Church in High Street South, East Ham.

Sylvia’s eldest daughter Helen Walton, 67, said: “I just think its a historical occasion for the family and its worth marking. We weren’t aware of the date until last year but its amazing.”

Latest Stories

The twins, who spend most of their day latched onto dad, have been named Winnie and Piglet by zookeepers ahead of this weekend’s Winnie the bear celebration at the Little Creatures family festival.

These two new arrivals, born just in time for a weekend celebrating the bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh, have been given some very apt names.

Read more
15:14
Police were called to the house of Sam Taylor Wood, seen here with husband Aaron Taylor Johnson at the European premiere of 'Godzilla' in Leicester Square in May, after the machine gun was spotted through a window  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Sam Taylor-Johnson got a visit from the firearms squad last night after a spotter-by noticed a machine gun in her house and called the police.

Read more
Firearms officers arrested the suspect

Members of the public helped to thwart an attempted armed robbery in Whitechapel yesterday.

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

Quizzes

Amy Winehouse's second album became a classic

Are you an Amy Winehouse superfan?

Read more
I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more