Plymouth officers surprise former PC, 84, with birthday cake

By Jonathan Morris
BBC News Online

  • Published
Charles Cross Police StationImage source, Charles Cross Police Station
Image caption,
Plymouth PCSOs Kristy Monk, Tracy Cunningham and Debbie Hollinson sang Happy Birthday to Ida

A former PC who was celebrating her 84th birthday on her own was surprised when local officers baked her a cake.

Ida Blackler could not see her far-flung family on her big day on Tuesday because of the coronavirus lockdown.

So her daughter got in touch with a police team in Plymouth to ask them for help.

PCSO Tracy Cunningham baked a cake and went round to Ida's house in Plymstock, Devon, with colleagues to sing happy birthday.

Mrs Blackler's daughter Vanessa Cook, from Somerset, said she and her brother Greg, from Wiltshire, had not seen their mother since the beginning of March when she put herself into self-isolation.

"It seemed really sad that it was her birthday and none of us could visit her," she said.

"I thought maybe some officers could go round and wish her happy birthday, but I did not expect what followed."

Image source, Charles Cross Police Station
Image caption,
PCSO Kristy Monk's son made a card for Ms Blackler

Ms Cook's email plea to the city's Charles Cross police team was seen by PCSO Tracy Cunningham.

The officer said: "We just thought we've got to do something, so I said at the morning briefing 'is it OK if we do a job in Plymstock?'

"I said 'it's not your normal job, it's to wish someone happy birthday' and the sergeant said 'that's fine, go and do it'."

Image source, Charles Cross Police Station
Image caption,
Ida Blackler was an officer in the Plymouth force in the 1960s

PCSO Cunningham and her colleagues Kristy Monk and Debbie Hollinson turned up with a home-made lemon drizzle cake and a hand-made card.

"I was trying to put the candles in the cake but it was too windy," PCSO Cunningham said.

"We looked at her and smiled and sang happy birthday to her."

Ms Blackler said: "For one of the few times in my life I was speechless.

"That kind of thing does not happen every day.

"It was a lovely surprise and they were so friendly and caring, it was a joy."

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