Rita, 108, sent over 140 birthday cards after appeal

Rita Farmer of St Edmunds Residential Care Home in Gorleston has turned 108.

Rita Farmer was delighted to receive over 140 cards to mark her 108th birthday following a public appeal. - Credit: St Edmunds Residential Care Home

More than 140 birthday cards have been sent to one of Norfolk's oldest residents following a public appeal.

Rita Farmer, of St Edmunds Residential Home in Marine Parade, Gorleston, received cards from all over the world to mark her 108th birthday.

Many of those sending their congratulations were children, including pupils from her old school in Kent.

Rita Farmer of St Edmunds Residential Care Home in Gorleston is 108

Rita Farmer of Gorleston enjoyed a flurry of visitors on her 108th birthday as she opened over 140 cards sent by the public. - Credit: St Edmunds Residential Care Home

Deputy manager Daniel Bowgen said she was "a bit overwhelmed" to receive so many, but was touched that people had taken the time to write to her.

Many told her a bit about themselves and their lives in far flung places like New Zealand and the US.

She was also impressed with her card from the Queen which saw the monarch dressed in a beautiful Jubilee blue.

Rita Farmer of St Edmunds Residential Care Home, Gorleston, has turned 108

Rita Farmer blowing out the candles on her birthday cake on the day she turned 108. - Credit: St Edmunds Residential Care Home

Miss Farmer said it was "a great honour" to receive the royal greeting.

Her birthday on June 24 was marked in traditional style with balloons and cake, Miss Farmer wearing a new dress bought especially for the occasion by manager Hanna Djedda.

Mr Bowgen said Miss Farmer was still very independent and liked to look smart, sometimes changing her clothes three or four times a day.

Rita Farmer of St Edmunds Residential Care Home in Gorleston celebrated her 108th birthday.

Over 140 cards, many from children, helped to make Rita Farmer's 108th birthday extra special. - Credit: St Edmunds Residential Care Home

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Following the care home's appeal via Facebook they received an initial flurry of about 80 cards,  which was boosted when they re-posted the request to make Miss Farmer's day extra special.

In the end there were 141, smashing their target of 108.

Rita Farmer of St Edmunds Residential Care Home in Gorleston who is 108

Rita Farmer, of St Edmunds Residential Care Home, in Gorleston, was delighted to receive over 140 cards marking her 108th birthday. - Credit: St Edmunds Residential Care Home

"She had a really good day with lots of visitors. It was very busy," Mr Bowgen said.

"One person said she was the oldest person they had heard of and that the oldest person they knew was only 92," he added.

Because she was very hard of hearing the Covid pandemic was extra challenging as mask-wearing meant she could not lip read and people were having to write things down for her.

Miss Farmer was born in Tonbridge, Kent, and after gaining a place at the prestigious Tonbridge Grammar School, went on to join the Erie Electronics Company in London in 1937, where she worked as the secretary and personal assistant to the managing director.

Because the firm was of national and strategic importance it was ordered in 1944 by the war office to relocate to the coast away from the danger of enemy bombing.

She has lived at St Edmunds for 14 years.