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Retired Norfolk landlady celebrates 100th birthday at Heron Lodge

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Five generations of her family came together for the 100th birthday of Myrtle Payne, a resident at Heron Lodge nursing home, in Wroxham.

Following a Facebook appeal, the retired pub landlady received more than 250 birthday cards from the public as well as cards and a scarf from her favourite football team, Liverpool, and a signed shirt with her name on the back from Norwich City Football Club.

Heron Lodge manager Alison Lawrence said: “Sunday was a very busy day with all Myrtle’s family and friends attending. We had a wonderful party with two singers attending in the afternoon.”

Mrs Payne, who has 15 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren, was born in Erpingham, north Norfolk, on 19th May, 1924, the second daughter of Edward and Mabel Bishop.

She attended Erpingham Primary School and recalls she was known as the teacher’s pet, often getting called out in class to run errands such as posting mail.

Leaving school at 14, her first job was working as a telephonist at Hanworth Post Office and she also worked at Marconi, making televisions.

After war broke out she worked in the Land Army but recalls she was never allowed to drive a tractor; in recent years she was thrilled to receive a medal and certificate from then Prime Minister Gordon Brown in recognition of her Land Army work.

She met her late husband Arthur in the Black Boys pub, in Aldborough – she recalls that coming from a strict home, she was not allowed to smoke or get married until she was 21.

After getting married, they initially lived in Hanworth with Arthur’s family and went on to have five children, Eddie, Alan (sadly deceased), Sandra, Robin and Sharon.

The family moved into a pub at Erpingham, the King’s Head, where Mrs Payne became the landlady while her husband worked on a farm.

After her husband retired, they moved to Cromer; Mrs Payne continued to live there until 2023 when her declining health led her to move to Heron Lodge.

When asked what her secret was to a long life, she said: “Enjoying family and friends but not forgetting two glasses of brandy and lemonade every night for the past 40 years!”

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