Former Great Yarmouth ‘Johnson’s girl’ celebrates 100th birthday

PUBLISHED: 20:08 01 February 2014 | UPDATED: 20:08 01 February 2014

Doris Thompson celebrates her 100th birthday at the Gabels Care Home Gorleston.
Doris with Yarmouth Mayor, John Burroughs.

Doris Thompson celebrates her 100th birthday at the Gabels Care Home Gorleston. Doris with Yarmouth Mayor, John Burroughs.

©Archant 2014

A “Gorleston girl” who has spent her life on the east coast celebrated her 100th birthday at the weekend.

Doris Thompson, born the year the First World War broke out, marked the milestone on Saturday, when she received a special card from the Queen along with a surprise visit from the Mayor and Mayoress of Great Yarmouth, Councillor John and Mrs Jenny Burroughs.

Describing his aunt as a “happy, lively person”, Doris’s nephew Russell Langham said the centenarian had come from a large local family.

“She had several brothers and sisters and the family lived in Gorleston for most of their lives,” said Russell.

“She came from a big and very close-knit family.

“I can remember as a little boy we used to get together every holiday and birthday. At Christmas, we would walk from one location to another singing songs and collecting.”

Doris, who lives at the Gables Care Home in Marine Parade, Gorleston, married her sweetheart, Lenny, in 1937 when she was 23 years old.

Russell said while the couple never had any children, they loved company and had many friends.

Doris also had a dog which she “adored”.

His memories of Lenny, who died a few years ago, are also treasured.

“He was a window cleaner and he used to cycle around town with a ladder on his shoulders; I used to marvel at the sight,” he said.

Doris was employed by the Yarmouth clothing firm Johnson & Sons for many years. She worked with at least one of her sisters, manufacturing skirts and other clothes for the family-firm that found success making sou’westers for fishermen and merchant seamen in the 19th century.

“It is wonderful that Doris has reached this incredible age,” said Russell.

“She is a very happy person. She always had a lively personality.

“I spent many of my younger days with the family and I have such fond memories.”

Russell, who is the son of Doris’ brother Jack, wasn’t able to see the 100-year-old on her birthday, but her niece Brenda Wright visited along with the civic visitors.

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