Sheffield pensioner’s birthday wishes from Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman and the Prime Minister go on display

Birthday cards are on display in the Winter Gardens for Winnie Blagden after an appeal for people to send her 100th birthday cards. Picture: Andrew Roe
Birthday cards are on display in the Winter Gardens for Winnie Blagden after an appeal for people to send her 100th birthday cards. Picture: Andrew Roe
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A signed photograph of Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman, a letter from the Prime Minister and birthday cards from around the world are all on display in Sheffield.

The items were all sent to city pensioner Winnie Blagden to mark her 100th birthday after she shot to worldwide fame earlier this year.

Birthday cards are on display in the Winter Gardens for Winnie Blagden after an appeal for people to send her 100th birthday cards. Picture: Andrew Roe

Birthday cards are on display in the Winter Gardens for Winnie Blagden after an appeal for people to send her 100th birthday cards. Picture: Andrew Roe

The Sheffield widow became a household name after an appeal for birthday cards started by BBC Radio Sheffield made headlines around the globe in May.

The radio station was inundated with 16,000 cards and gifts for Winnie, who lives alone and has few remaining friends, after a Facebook appeal was seen by more than six million people.

The appeal for her started after bosses at Serenta HomeCare, which helps Winnie to live independently, wanted to make her birthday extra special.

To mark the occasion she was whisked into Sheffield Town Hall for tea in the Lord Mayor’s parlour before enjoying a surprise birthday party.

Birthday cards are on display, including one from Dustin Hoffman, in the Winter Gardens for Winnie Blagden after an appeal for people to send her 100th birthday cards. Picture: Andrew Roe

Birthday cards are on display, including one from Dustin Hoffman, in the Winter Gardens for Winnie Blagden after an appeal for people to send her 100th birthday cards. Picture: Andrew Roe

Now a selection of the cards and messages, sent from as far afield as America, The Netherlands and Canada, have gone on display in the Winter Garden.

School children from across the country, including pupils at Hatfield Academy, in Shiregreen, Sheffield, Lowfield Primary, in Lowfield, Sheffield, St Alban’s Catholic Primary, in Denaby, Doncaster and Brayton Church of England Primary, in Selby, North Yorkshire, sent Winnie colourful, handmade cards.

And Prime Minister David Cameron and Hollywood actor Dustin Hoffman also sent the pensioner their best wishes for her special day.

Mr Cameron wrote: “I am writing to wish you a very happy 100th birthday!

A map showing where birthday cards were sent from which are on display in the Winter Gardens for Winnie Blagden after an appeal for people to send her 100th birthday cards. Picture: Andrew Roe

A map showing where birthday cards were sent from which are on display in the Winter Gardens for Winnie Blagden after an appeal for people to send her 100th birthday cards. Picture: Andrew Roe

“This is a marvellous occasion and I hope that you will use this landmark birthday to celebrate all your many achievements over a century, and all that you have seen and experienced during this time.

“I would like to send you Samantha’s and my congratulations and very best wishes for a wonderful birthday.”

Mr Hoffman, star of Rain Man and Meet The Fockers, sent Winnie a signed photograph with the message: “Happy, happy birthday on your big day. All the best to you.”

Among the array of birthday cards, messages and pictures on display is a brief story of Winnie’s life and the appeal.

Winnie was born on Dalton Street, Heeley, on May 31, 1915 and married George Blagden on June 4, 1938.

The couple spent almost every day together until George passed away in 1985.

The display will be on in the Winter Garden for two weeks.