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Anita celebrates her 104th birthday at Thorp House.

Anita and Maria Elayna 6.12.23

It was such a momentous landmark that staff at Thorp House Nursing Home decided it deserved a three-day celebration.

Anita Twine’s extended 104th birthday included everything she requested: “a posh lunch wearing a hat, a tune or two, gin and tonic and all my family and friends around me”.

Norwich singer Maria Elayna provided the music as everyone enjoyed her favourite food, fish and chips and chicken korma, rounded off by a birthday cake which she described as “a bit tasty”.

Marcia Hughes, activities coordinator at the Kingsley Healthcare home at Griston, near Watton, said when Mrs Twine arrived at Thorp House a year ago she was largely confined to bed. Since then, she had become an active participant in activities and had become hugely popular with fellow residents and staff. “She’s become quite unstoppable,” said Mrs Hughes.

Mrs Twine lived her early life in Southfields, London, and was educated at Fulham County School. She recalled that while her sister Dorothy passed her exams with flying colours and received a free place, her father Oscar, a headteacher, had to pay her school fees. “I always said Dorothy inherited the brains,” she said.

Mrs Twine worked at Barclays Bank, in Canon Street, London during the Blitz, before marrying her husband Percy during the war – “he was 6ft 2in and caught my eye” – and moving to Wimbledon where their only son Douglas was born.

Anita cake 8.12.23

Her husband’s work took the family to Sale in  Cheshire and then Gloucester, followed by Worksop, in Nottinghamshire, where she became a hospital receptionist; They retired to Beckingham near Gainsborough, in Lincolnshire. Following several holidays to the north Norfolk coast they sold up and moved to Holkham, both working part time at Holkham Hall.

After Percy’s death Mrs Twine adopted a retired racing greyhound for company and moved to Wells-next-the-Sea to be closer to her circle of friends. Active in the RNLI and various social groups, she used to follow a darts team away on late nights, enjoying her favourite tipple, a  gin and tonic, and was a common sight fund-raising in Wells well into her 90s. Her 100th birthday was a great event with many turning out to celebrate at a local pub.

A year later she went into a care home in Wells before moving to Thorp House.

Mrs Hughes said: “Anita’s tip for living a long life is being willing to do the odd naughty thing!”


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