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Clara's century cheer

PUBLISHED: 16:31 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:45 03 July 2010

SURROUNDED by balloons and banners, Clara Bamber raises a glass to celebrate her 100th birthday.

And it seems that a glass of brandy and lemonade a day has been Mrs Bamber's secret to a long life - coupled with hard work, she says.

SURROUNDED by balloons and banners, Clara Bamber raises a glass to celebrate her 100th birthday.

And it seems that a glass of brandy and lemonade a day has been Mrs Bamber's secret to a long life - coupled with hard work, she says.

Born in Stratford, London, on April 3 1909, Mrs Bamber, who lives at Magdalen House, Gorleston, celebrated her milestone birthday with friends and family and admitted she doesn't feel 100.

Mrs Bamber met her late husband Fred at the Hackney Wick speedway, of which they were keen followers. They were married on April 30 1939 at St Mark's Church, Hackney Wick, East London.

The couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in 1999 but Fred died three years ago.

Daughter Brenda Lee, of Hopton, admitted her mother had not had the easiest of lives, having to work full-time to support the family after Fred was injured during service in the second world war.

One of the hardest times for her was towards the end of the war when Fred was reported missing, presumed dead by the army. However, the anguish turned to relief when the Salvation Army discovered he was safe, but not well - he had lost a leg during the fighting in Burma.

Caring for her husband, Mrs Bamber became the main breadwinner of the family and enjoyed a variety of jobs.

As a young girl she started work selling fruit and vegetables on the streets of London before working in a sweet factory until the family moved to Rayleigh in Essex from West Ham in 1963.

They lived there for 14 years before moving to Hopton. She also worked at Sainsbury's, Forest Gate Hospital, and a firm which made tape measures in Essex.

Mrs Bamber has two daughters, Mrs Lee and Loretta Segust, six grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, many of who travelled from Essex to attend a party at Magdalen House.

Mrs lee added: “Mum is really well looked after, the staff do a marvellous job and on her birthday they had decorated the entire lounge with balloons and banners. It was lovely.”

A keen swimmer in her younger years, Mrs Bamber still has a sharp sense of humour, demonstrated on her birthday when she received a telegram from the Queen.

Mrs Lee explained: “She picked up the card and said 'where did you get your hair done Liz'!”

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