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It's 100 not out

PUBLISHED: 16:53 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:49 03 July 2010

AT 100 years old she can be forgiven for being a little hard of hearing, but Grace Nichols is living proof that being a centenarian doesn't mean you have to lose your independence, or a zest for life.

AT 100 years old she can be forgiven for being a little hard of hearing, but Grace Nichols is living proof that being a centenarian doesn't mean you have to lose your independence, or a zest for life.

Grace, of Southtown, Great Yarmouth, continues to live alone and care for herself and she puts it all down to good luck and good health.

She marked her 100th birthday on Saturday with close family at the Imperial Hotel, surrounded by congratulatory cards, flowers and a telegram from the Queen.

She was born on April 5, 1908 and brought up in Anson Road, attending the original Cobholm School which was then on Breydon Road. Grace was the youngest of six children and on leaving school at the age of 14 she went to work at Grouts silk factory in the warping department.

She said: “Warping was the method used for wrapping bandages using a machine to do the winding. I don't suppose it's done like that now.”

She recalls that life was hard but no-one was any the worse for it.

She married taxi driver Alfred in February 1939 and from that time, Grace's life was centred around the family, although the family was split up during the second world war when Alfred served with the Army and Grace and young son Arnold moved to live with friends in Belton for safety.

Grace recalled: “It was well in the country in those days.”

When Alfred was demobbed the couple set up home in Southtown and Alfred went to work in a variety of jobs but for many years was well known locally as a taxi driver.

Grace said: “I looked after the home and family and we lived in Southtown all our married life. We used to enjoy walking and holidays together, although I have never been abroad. The furthest I have been to is Wales.

“Southtown was a very different area in the 1950s. A number of business people lived here but as housing became available elsewhere they all moved out.”

She added with a smile she would not want to live anywhere else.

Grace was widowed in 1984 when Alfred died at the age of 74.

At her home, again surrounded by flowers and cards and pictures of her family, she said: “I've had about 60 cards and I don't know where to put them all. Everyone has been so kind.”

Grace is one of the founder members of the Wednesday Club at St Mary's Church, Southtown and this week she was the guest of honour at a special party with her friends.

She still enjoys a good social life and visits other clubs in the area as well.

Grace told the Mercury: “I have a very loving family, so I have been very fortunate, but a long life is largely due to two things, good luck and good health.”

She has one son Arnold, three granddaughters, and 11 great grandchildren.

ends

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