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105 and still keeping faith

PUBLISHED: 15:52 26 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:09 03 July 2010

BIRTHDAY GIRL: Gladys Smith celebrated her 105th birthday on Friday

BIRTHDAY GIRL: Gladys Smith celebrated her 105th birthday on Friday

IT is said that keeping a faith is the key to a long life and Gladys Smith of Great Yarmouth is testimony to that on her 105th birthday.

On Friday, she celebrated surrounded by cards and flowers, friends and family at her home in Town Wall Road.

IT is said that keeping a faith is the key to a long life and Gladys Smith of Great Yarmouth is testimony to that on her 105th birthday.

On Friday, she celebrated surrounded by cards and flowers, friends and family at her home in Town Wall Road.

She has always been a Christian and until two years attended church every Sunday.

Daughter Renee said Gladys suffered from arthritis but it never cast a shadow over her sense of humour and cheerfulness.

On Friday evening most of her immediate family attended a small family party.

Gladys has spent most of her life in the town and has seen more changes than most people could ever hope to experience A major feature of the town when she was born in 1904 was the range of narrow streets and rows on what was the medieval centre. Many of these disappeared during bombing in the second world war.

She herself lived in one of the rows, the eldest of eight children. Two siblings died young.

She said: “My father had to ask his boss for an advance on his salary as we couldn't afford to bury the kiddie That's how tough times were then.”

She left school at 14 and worked for a time in the revolving restaurant near the Britannia Pier, later turning her hand to becoming a seamstress.

Gladys married husband James at St Nicholas' Church when she was 24 after a long long engagement as they had to save up. She was widowed in 1983.

In 1953, Gladys and her nephew were flooded out of their home in Blackfriars Road. They had to wait in the first floor of the house to be rescued by being pulled through a window and into a waiting fishing boat.

She has spent most of her life undertaking charitable work for others through St Nicholas' Church.

Gladys has a son and a daughter and four grandchildren.

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