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It’s party time for Kathleen as she reaches 102

Having learnt to play bridge in her 80s and spent her 90th birthday in Vienna, family and close friends of a much-loved woman have turned out to mark another great milestone in her long life. Kathleen Hull celebrated her 102nd birthday this week with a special party and afternoon tea at the Kirkley Manor care home, in south Lowestoft, on Tuesday . Born in Raglan Street, Lowestoft on November 21, 1914, Kathleen’s mother was a dressmaker and her father was an engineer working in the aircraft industry on the development of magnetos.   “Her parents were devoted to each other and they were a very close family,” her second cousin, Ann Pettitt, said. The family moved to Birmingham due to her father’s career when Kathleen was about five.   They then moved to Peterborough, where Kathleen took a commercial course in shorthand, typing and book-keeping. She enjoyed roller- skating and dancing, recalling many popular dinner dances at the Conservative club.   The family then moved to Leicester before the start of the Second World War, and here Kathleen worked in the clerical department of the air and nautical inspection division. She later became PA to the managing director of N Corah & Sons hosiery and textile manufacturers and at one time the company was the largest knitwear producer in Europe.   In her 30s, Kathleen joined an amateur dramatics group, and she enjoyed performing in numerous productions including The Mikado, The Gondoliers and The Pirates of Penzance.   Having never married, Kathleen retired in her early 60s and moved to Oulton Broad. She also lived in Carlton Colville and Gorleston before spending about 10 years in the Hildesley Court care home in Pakefield.   It was after joining the U3A group in Lowestoft that she learned to play bridge in her 80s. Throughout her life, Kathleen enjoyed travelling – visiting cousins in Pennsylvania in America a number of times, she also enjoyed visiting Scotland and spent her 90th birthday in Vienna with Mr and Mrs Pettitt.   After moving to Kirkley Manor care home on Kirkley Park Road in March, Mrs Pettitt added: “She does incredibly well for her age and Kathleen is much-loved.”   With flowers, balloons, cards, music, cakes and even a specially made doughnut tree taking pride of place, there was a real celebratory feel as friends and family partied with Kathleen at the care home.   Before blowing out the candles on her cake, Kathleen said: “Thank you all,” to cheers and applause. Dani Gaston, home manager, added: “This is a great achievement.”     Source: Eastern Daily Press

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