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100-year-old who survived coronavirus celebrates birthday with pony visit

A care home resident who survived Covid-19 earlier this year had her 100th birthday wish fulfilled when staff arranged for a pony to visit her.

Lifelong horse lover Joyce Tofts became a centenarian on 27 October and received a day of pampering before meeting her surprise equine guest.

She had her hair, make-up and nails done in the salon at the Princess Christian Care Centre in Woking, Surrey, then was escorted down a red carpet to her table of presents, cards and balloons.

Although Joyce has never owned a horse, she has often sponsored them at rescue centres, and had joked with staff that she “hoped to receive a pony for her birthday”.

After an appeal was put out on social media, local resident Lisa Dahar volunteered to bring along her coloured mare Honey to fulfill Joyce’s wish.

Joyce was able to meet Honey and feed her carrots before head chef Cosmin Cristea presented the humans with their treat — a two-tier chocolate birthday cake. Joyce also received a telegram from the Queen.

“I’ve had a wonderful day,” she said. “I feel very lucky and grateful to the carers for everything that they’ve organised for me. I wish it could be my birthday every day.”

Care home manager Mario Taharian said Joyce had a difficult start to the year when she tested positive for coronavirus.

“We wanted to make sure her birthday celebrations were extra special, especially with it being a milestone birthday as well. It was wonderful to be a part of and to see how excited and happy she was throughout the day,” he added.

Lisa said she was familiar with the care home as she used to keep her horses just around the corner, so had been more than happy to volunteer Honey for the job when she saw the plea on social media. The 13hh pony belongs Lisa’s 13-year-old daughter Sophie, who has owned her since March.

“She’s been amazing ever since we bought her and we thought she’d enjoy the fuss,” Lisa said. “She’s been to the beach and to the gallops so we didn’t think a care home would be too much of a stretch for her, she is so good and gentle.”

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Lisa added that Joyce had been “very chatty” and seemed delighted to meet the 10-year-old mare.

“Honey sniffed her knees at one point and she said ‘you don’t want to eat me, I’d be too tough’,” Lisa said.

“I’d love to be able to take Honey and some of our other animals to visit again once the Covid situation is over.”

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