Happy birthday to long-standing Labour Portsoken member Mannie Blankett who celebrated his 100th birthday in style this week with well wishes from his sporting and political heroes.
Mannie turned 100 on 18 October, celebrating with parties all over Portsoken, starting with a lavish affair at the Dorsett City Hotel in Aldgate, followed by an afternoon of singing and dancing with his friends at community centre Toynbee Hall.
The youngest of six children to Polish immigrants, Mannie was born and raised in the East End, and trained to be a hairdresser before going into the family’s furrier business in the West End and spending several summers as a lifeguard for lidos around London.
Speaking with Spitalfields Life last year Mannie said that after a stint in the armed forces during World War II and then the Peace Movement in the 1960s, he returned to the East End and has been living in Petticoat Lane for the last 20 years.
The birthday boy was delighted to receive his customary card from the Queen, as well as surprise well wishes from the Tottenham Hotspur first team and a special personal address from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Portsoken councillors Jason Pritchard and Munsur Ali presented Mannie with a signed Labour manifesto and a video message from the Labour leader during a party at Toynbee Hall, which Mannie attends three times a week for activities and social events. It was a packed house for the community centre’s first 100th birthday party, with around 30 regulars turning up to congratulate Mannie on the milestone and indulge in one of the centre’s most popular activities; a group singalong.
Portsoken councillor Jason Pritchard said: “What an amazing man Mannie is! So honoured to be there on this special day and to get a video message from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wishing Mannie a happy birthday was fantastic. Mannie said it made his day. Thanks to all who helped make this day so special.”