Press release

Over 7,500 celebrate 100+ in 2014: Centenarians celebrate with royal birthday card

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Over 7,500 people celebrated their 100th-plus birthdays in 2014 with a celebratory card from the Queen.

The team at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that traces those about to have their 100th, 105th and each birthday afterwards forwarded details of 7,517 people on to the Palace to issue a Centenarian card this year. More families and those living abroad may have approached the Palace directly.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates a total of 13,780 people are aged 100 or more in the UK – a rise of 70% in a decade. This compares with 8,060 centenarians in 2003.

Most recent estimates show of the 797,000 babies less than 1 year old living in the UK in 2013, 123,000 boys and 151,000 girls are expected to live until their 100th birthday in 2113.

Women reaching 100 this year will have started receiving the State Pension in 1974 – when the basic State Pension was £10 a week.

Men reaching 100 in 2014 will have hit State Pension age in 1979 – when the basic State Pension was £23.30.

The basic State Pension now stands at £113.10 and will rise to £115.95 from April 2015.

Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said:

It is a massive source of celebration that more of us are living longer fuller lives and thousands of centenarians have celebrated their 100th birthday with a very special card.

Our reforms will ensure the State Pension remains strong for future generations and I am proud we are protecting today’s pensioners with the Triple Lock meaning the basic State Pension is at the highest percentage of earnings since 1992.

Centenarian team leader Margaret Wilberforce-Eke said:

Every day we help families mark amazing celebrations. Reaching 100 might be becoming more common, but it is still very special for all those involved.

It is a privilege to be involved in just a small part of these birthdays – but we hear back that receiving a card is the perfect finishing touch for a great day.

Throughout their lives, these centenarians born in 1914 have lived through 2 world wars, the Cold War and the rise of the information age.

They turned 21 in 1935, when:

  • the board game Monopoly was released in the United States
  • Porky Pig made his debut

They turned 40 in 1954, when:

  • Hancock’s Half Hour debuted on BBC radio
  • Elizabeth II became the first reigning monarch to visit Australia
  • Roger Bannister ran the first 4 minute mile

They hit 60 in 1974, when:

  • Richard Nixon announced his resignation
  • Ceefax started
  • the Rubik’s Cube was invented

The government has made a series of reforms to help people prepare for retirement – as increased longevity demands action to keep the State Pension fair and sustainable.

The new State Pension starting from April 2016 will make the State Pension simpler for future generations, automatic enrolment is helping millions to save for a more comfortable retirement, and new pension freedoms will give savers more control over their hard-earned money.

More information

Only British Nationals receive a card from the Queen, other nationalities receive a card from the Secretary of State.

British citizens receive cards on their 100th, 105th and every subsequent birthday from the Queen and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

If customers are not getting state benefits a direct application can be made through the Buckingham Palace website. Buckingham Palace then requires birth certificates or other documentation to prove identity of the applicant.

The DWP Centenarian team, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, contacts people approaching their 100th, 105th and every subsequent birthday who are getting State Pension.

Read the ONS data on centenarians and the ONS population and mortality projections for men and women

See the basic State Pension rates

How to get a congratulatory card from the Queen

Read about receiving a congratulatory card from the Queen

Contact the Press Office

Media enquiries for this press release – 0203 267 5123

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