Worlingham woman celebrates 102nd birthday

SURROUNDED by cards, and with a broad smile on her face, a Worlingham great-grandmother celebrated her 102nd birthday yesterday.

Sprightly Edna Clarke still cooks and cleans for herself and, as she reached her latest milestone birthday, she was showing no signs of slowing down.

Instead, she was laughing and joking with friends and family as she recalled many fond memories and revealed her secret to long life.

“Being kind and helping other people, that is essential. I have helped a good many in my time,” she said.

Edna said she enjoys reading the paper every day, and likes the occasional glass of sherry or Bailey’s cream, but puts her long life down to this helping others attitude. She is also well-known for her straight-talking approach.

“I tell them what I think, whether it offends or pleases. I’ve been like this all my life,” she said.

Edna Rosetta Emilia Cooper was raised in Carlton Colville, along with three sisters and two brothers, and she has never moved away from the region.

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She married Freddie William Clarke and had five boys and three girls. Together they lived in Barnby and Kirkley Gardens, in Lowestoft.

Edna said: “He was a fisherman all his life, which meant I did not see him very often. He was away most of the time.”

She did many jobs during her working life, including four years in service and time in Morton’s factory in Lowestoft. This combined with looking after her family and her housework meant that she said she never had time for hobbies.

Today, Edna has four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, and her family have remained close to her.

Her husband died in 1982, and in 1995 she moved to Samford Court, in Worlingham, when the houses were first built.

Trevor Shepherd, scheme manager, said: “She was one of the first residents in the building and has never wanted to move from the flat she’s in.

“She does all her own housework, expect the heavy stuff. She dusts, tidies up, cooks – she’s an incredible lady.”

Edna celebrated her 80th, 90th and 100th birthday with parties, but didn’t plan another this year. Instead, she was surrounded by cards, flowers and cakes as visitors dropped in and the phone continually rung from those wanting to wish her happy birthday.

Edna said: “I have got so many memories. I really can’t ask for much more, I have enjoyed my life to the full.”