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Cissie celebrating a ton of memories

PUBLISHED: 15:37 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 July 2010

A GORLESTON woman is the latest to join the "Century Club."

Elsie Thurston celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday surrounded by flowers and a congratulatory telegram from the Queen at a family party at her home in Wadham Road.

A GORLESTON woman is the latest to join the “Century Club.”

Elsie Thurston celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday surrounded by flowers and a congratulatory telegram from the Queen at a family party at her home in Wadham Road.

Elsie, or Cissie to her friends, has a razor sharp memory and recalls the dark days of both the first and second world wars.

Born in Kent, she remembers how hard life was.

She said: “All working class families went hungry at some time or another. People don't realise today what it was like for us at that time. I remember once acquiring some sausages by rather less than honest means, but I don't think our family enjoyed a meal so much!”

Cissie married cargo ship seaman Charlie Thurston in 1933 when they were both aged 25, initially settling in Gravesend, Kent. But Charlie, who came from Norfolk, quickly convinced her Great Yarmouth was where they ought to settle permanently.

During the second world war, Cissie remained in Yarmouth while Charlie served in the Merchant Navy, and was involved in the Dunkirk evacuation in May and June 1940. The couple had two daughters.

Cissie said: “I remember during a bombing raid having to grab the girls and dive in the shelter under the stairs.”

After war, Charlie went back to civvy street and later became the captain of the MV Severity when it was launched in Yarmouth in 1954.

Cissie recalled: “Charlie oversaw the cargo runs to Holland and Germany, and continued with the cargo ships until he retired.”

Charlie died 15 years ago and a big surprise for Cissie on her birthday was the delivery of a spray of flowers from her late husband's employer, Everards.

In between raising her daughters, Cissie worked at two bakeries.

Charlie and Cissie had a common interest in music: they not only bought the records of the period but also made their own music.

Cissie said: “I used to play the piano and we'd play and sing all the old music hall songs like Roll Out The Barrel and all the old sing-song type tunes when family or friends came round. I also liked films and my hero was John Wayne.”

The new 100 year old has definite views on the world today, but adds positively that a lot of change has come for the good.

Her two married daughters are now in their 70s, and Cissie has four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

ends

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