Vera, 107, determined to beat aunt’s family record age of 108
PUBLISHED: 14:43 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:51 06 March 2020
A Norfolk woman celebrated her 107th birthday on Thursday, and is determined to beat her aunt’s age of 108.
Vera Read was born in Oulton Broad in March 1913, and is still going strong more than a century later living in a care home in Brundall.
She claims that living by the sea and eating herring is behind her long life.
She was the first of three children - her sister Edna is 95, while her brother Stanley died in 2018.
She and her family moved to Norwich in the late 1930s when her father started work as a tailor in a shop close to City Hall.
Ms Read's first job came after she left school, aged 14 - she worked in the Henry Jarvis department store on St Benedicts Street.
After the Second World War broke out, she contributed to the war effort by working in a factory making uniforms for soldiers.
During the conflict she married Cecil Read, who was in the Royal Navy before being released from the Armed Forces in 1945.
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Their daughter Christine was born in August that year, before the family moved to Mile Cross. Christine's sister Eileen was born six years later.
The family later moved to west Earlham, but Ms Read ended up looking after her husband for 20 years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
He died in 1983, and 30 years later - when she was 100 - she moved into Springdale care home in Brundall.
She has four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Members of her family gathered on Thursday as Ms Read celebrated her 107th birthday - her daughter Christine Manns was among those in attendance.
She said: "Some of the family managed to be there, but some of them had to work.
"I think she had a nice time, looking at her cards and getting her cake."
She also received a picture of the Queen, the fourth in her now growing collection - people receive correspondence from the Queen on their 100th birthday, in their 105th year and then every year after that.
Her aunt, Florence Hindes, lived until she was 108, though Ms Read wants to break that family record.
"We must have good genes," said Mrs Manns. "She still manages to get about a bit, not very quickly but she does manage."
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