“I had the best day ever” - ITFC players help wish Ipswich grandma and NHS worker happy birthday

PUBLISHED: 19:00 24 April 2020

Sally Jones on her 60th birthday       Picture: Sally Jones

Sally Jones on her 60th birthday Picture: Sally Jones


Friends and family clubbed together to help Sally Jones have an extra special 60th party in isolation.

Sally received many cards and gifts from loved ones   Picture: Sally JonesSally received many cards and gifts from loved ones Picture: Sally Jones

Many of us have been hit with the hard reality that our birthday plans need to be cancelled this year – but Sally Jones from Ipswich wasn’t going to let social distancing ruin her milestone day.

Sally’s husband David, daughters Rebecca and Terri and six grandchildren joined forces to create a super-secret surprise day for her, to not only help her have an extra special birthday, but to thank her for her 30 years of service within the NHS.

Sally, who is the deputy reception manager in the pathology blood sciences reception department in Ipswich Hospital, has been extra vigilant during the pandemic as her husband and grandson are under strict 12-week lockdowns. All the events that took place respected social-distancing guidelines and were completely safe for Sally and the rest of her family.

Sally says: “The week started with David hanging a banner across the road from us – he had it made to support the NHS and other front-line workers. He is very passionate about the NHS as he has COPD and is very proud of the work that I do. The evening before my birthday I was given an itinerary, so I knew that I had a big day in store!

Sally Jones enjoying time with her family before lockdown     Picture: Sally JonesSally Jones enjoying time with her family before lockdown Picture: Sally Jones

“I woke up to a delicious breakfast and fresh coffee, which I enjoyed while reading messages and opening cards; I shed a few tears as it was much more emotional than usual. The house had been decorated with balloons and banners – it looked amazing. I was then added to a private Facebook group called ‘Sally’s 60th Birthday’ which included messages and pictures from friends and family – some friends shared photos from when I was at Whitehouse Infants School!

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“There were even videos from Ipswich Town’s Paul Lambert, Matty Holland, Darren Bent, Alan Brazil, Kieron Dyer and Jonathan Walters all wishing me Happy Birthday and thanking me for my work within the NHS. I have to say a special thanks to my husband, nephew Joe and brother-in-law Terence for organising this – they knew it would make my day!

“At 9.30am, David popped open the Bucks Fizz and visitors started dropping cards and pressies at our doorstep – everyone was careful to stand back to respect social distancing, but it was lovely to see them from afar. My daughters, son-in-law’s and grandchildren came to sing happy birthday from across the road. Terri’s children didn’t come as one has Cystic Fibrosis, but they later sent me a video of them in fancy dress.

David had a sign made to show his support for the NHS  Picture: Sally JonesDavid had a sign made to show his support for the NHS Picture: Sally Jones

“Rebecca organised a game of bingo for us to play via Whatsapp at midday – I won a fiver! Soon after the doorbell rang again as Terri had ordered a Sunday roast from Hungry Tums. My girls had both cooked roasts individually for their families and the plan was that we all eat together via video chat. Ours was a little early but it didn’t matter.

“4pm was time for cake! We all reconnected on Zoom where David and I enjoyed a slice of the cake that my sister Tina had made. It was hectic, but so much fun. My daughter Terri hosted the evening games later at 7pm. We played the Generation Conveyor Belt Challenge (which David and I won!), followed by a game of Tension.

“Originally, my family had organised a long weekend in Westgate Lodge, Dedham, which would have consisted of lots of time with family and friends (and not forgetting a trip back to town to see the Ipswich game!). David and my daughters booked two more rooms for the night of my birthday so everyone could celebrate with us. These obviously had to be deferred, but we’re hoping to rebook for April 2021 which will be the end of my sixtieth year.

“I want to thank everyone who helped make my big day so special, especially my husband, daughters and their families. They’ve done me very proud and I had the best day ever!”

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