Elsie Ayton celebrated her 106th birthday on Friday at Heron Lodge care home in Wroxham.
A resident at the Kingsley Healthcare home in Norwich Road for 16 years, she enjoyed a party with fellow residents and her daughter and son in law. Her daughter Jane Aldred, 78, of Church Lane, Wroxham, said: "My mum has always had a healthy lifestyle. She used to cycle everywhere when she lived in Cromer and has always been a good cook with a healthy appetite." Mrs Aldred, who is married to retired Merchant Navy captain Brian, said her mother had a great great grandchild on her sister Madeline's side of the family who all live in the USA.
She said it was hoped Madeline, who had married a US airman based at Sculthorpe, would be visiting Norfolk in the new year to see her mother. Mrs Aldred, who never had children herself, said her mother had been born in Whitechapel. She said: "Her father was a farm worker who had left Norfolk to find work and was looking after the dray horses in London." Her mother had come back to Norfolk with her parents in the 1920s and grew up at Skeyton near Aylsham. She said: "Mum went into service when she was about 15, working for a family at Ingworth Lodge near Aylsham. "She then moved on to Cromer working for various ladies and met my father Sam on the promenade."
Her father, who died in 1988, had been working as a gardener for a market gardener William Burn near Cromer. She said: "They got married in 1934 and then me and my sister came along. My father was in the airforce during the war and worked as a gardener at Colne House, a hotel in Cromer, when he came back. "When the hotel trade died down he became a painter and decorator." She described her mother, who had four siblings all of whom have died, as a "real homemaker". She said: "She did odd jobs but largely looked after her children like most women did in those days. She was a very hardworking woman." She said her mother had been a founder member of the Mothers' Union in Cromer and had been proud to carry its banner during parades. Mrs Aldred said her mother had been able to walk with a frame beyond her 100th birthday. She said she had been thrilled to receive her latest card from the Queen.