Centenarian marks long life with paddle

THEY say life’s a beach, so it’s fitting Great Yarmouth woman Joan Galloway celebrated her 100th birthday this week with a paddle in the sea.

For the sprightly London-born girl, who survived the Blitz during the second world war, believes her positive “glass-half-full” attitude towards life has enabled her to reach the milestone, which she celebrated on Tuesday, August 24, with a landau-driven trip to the sea off North Drive and a special party organised by staff at her home, Abbeville care home in Wellesley Road.

The party was also attended by her family – Joan has one daughter, two grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Born to Albert and Annie Wilson in 1910, she was raised in South Woodford and attended schools in Wanstead and Loughton before leaving to become a milliner working for well-known London firms, including Maison Lewis.

And during her time she even made a hat for the Queen, who sent her a telegram congratulating her on her 100th birthday.

Joan said: “They said ‘put your best into it because it is for the Queen,’ that is what they told me to do. I am quite good at needlework and I think that is where my passion for millinery came from.”

She married George more than 60 years ago, but he died three months after their wedding, leaving her pregnant with daughter Joan. Four years ago Joan joined her daughter, moving to Yarmouth.

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The new centenarian believes one reason for her longevity was her love of sport and a healthy lifestyle as she was a keen runner in her youth, and also enjoyed golf and tennis.

She has earned a reputation among the care home’s staff as the life and soul of the party as she loves singing along to records.

And to mark her special day, she had her hair dyed in her favourite colours, pink and gold. She told The Mercury: “I am lucky that long life seems to run in my family. My great grandmother lived to the age of 103 so I think that plays a big part in it.”