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Doris celebrates 102nd birthday

PUBLISHED: 17:24 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 12:24 03 July 2010

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS: Doris Pratt was 102 on Sunday.

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS: Doris Pratt was 102 on Sunday.

Dominic Bareham

MOST people take their cars and plane journeys for granted, but when 102-year-old Doris Pratt was born in 1906 the main modes of transport were the horse and cart or motorbike.

MOST people take their cars and plane journeys for granted, but when 102-year-old Doris Pratt was born in 1906 the main modes of transport were the horse and cart or motorbike.

The former Fleggburgh School pupil was raised on a farm in Marsh Road, Fleggburgh, by her father Fred Shreeve and mother Lily and remembered travelling around the farm by horse and cart and by motorbike to get to Yarmouth market to sell the produce.

Her son Neville, 58, said his mother, who celebrated her birthday on Sunday, could remember when the first lorries were used to ferry farm products.

He said: “It was just country life really. Her parents were involved in farming and market gardening and she was used to being brought up with animals on the farm at Fleggburgh when horse and cart was the main transport.”

After leaving school, Mrs Pratt married her first husband Harold Jeary and spent her late teens and early 20s moving around the United States and Canada because of her husband's work as an aerial engineer.

Mr Jeary worked for Armstrong Siddeley, which made aircraft engines, and the couple lived in New York and Ottawa before returning to Fleggburgh where he set up a vehicle repairs business.

They had one son Tony.

However, her husband died suddenly of leukaemia and she took over the running of the garage before marrying Leo Pratt, who ran the Old Curiosity antiques shop in South Walsham which had been in his family since the 19th century.

Mrs Pratt, who worked as a Red Cross nurse looking after injured soldiers during the second world war, ran the shop following her husband's death in 1969.

The couple had two children, Neville and Rodney, and lived at Pilson Green, near South Walsham, before Mrs Pratt moved to Ivy House in The Street at Acle in 1985 and then to her current home at the Old Rectory residential home a year ago.

Neville said: “She always said her long life was down to luck. She had never had an illness in her life until she was 100 when she was taken to hospital with a chill. Apart from coughs and colds she has never had an illness and that is just luck, isn't it?”

He added she had never drunk alcohol or smoked which he believed had helped her longevity.


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