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Surprise for centenarian

PUBLISHED: 09:43 06 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:29 03 July 2010

100TH BIRTHDAY PARTY: Elvey Taylor with husband Sidney, arriving at her surprise party

100TH BIRTHDAY PARTY: Elvey Taylor with husband Sidney, arriving at her surprise party

Alan Thompson

A GORLESTON woman celebrated her 100th birthday on Tuesday at a surprise party given to her by family and friends.

The party for Elvey Taylor took place at Meadow Court and accompanying her were nephews Mark and Roger Cook and her husband of 60 years, Sidney, now aged 93.

A GORLESTON woman celebrated her 100th birthday on Tuesday at a surprise party given to her by family and friends.

The party for Elvey Taylor took place at Meadow Court and accompanying her were nephews Mark and Roger Cook and her husband of 60 years, Sidney, now aged 93.

The couple celebrated their diamond wedding in October.

Elvey's story began in London on December 1, 1908. In her early days she was a singer and dancer under her maiden name Elvey Wright, and she trained at a major school of dancing in London.

And the career choice gave her the opportunity to travel abroad, long before the days of the package holiday.

Elvey worked in both France and Germany in the 1930s but she recalled she could tell that the second world war was coming as the whole atmosphere of Berlin changed as the decade progressed.

She said: “I could see the war was coming while I was working in Germany in the variety shows and I was in Paris when war broke out and I had to return to this country.”

Elvey is modest about her work with the Red Cross during the times of conflict but after the war she put her management skills to running a hotel in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

She still kept in touch with the Red Cross in London and was called upon again at a time she least expected it - in 1956, when the Russians invaded Hungary, she was called to Austria.

She said: “We had a refugee camp set up just outside Vienna. It was a terrible time for everyone involved. Thousands of refugees flooded across the border form Hungary into Austria. We had to clothe and feed them.”

Elvey's association with the Red Cross lasted for 18 years.

And she had the chance to emigrate to the USA; just after the second world war ended she went to stay with a relative in New York City but she said: “I didn't really settle there and decided to come back to England, but while I was there I did pass my driving test.”

Elvey and Sidney married in October 1948 but never had a family however, her nephews paid tribute to her saying she was always a very affectionate aunt, and a very special lady who has had the most extraordinary life.

Elvey and Sidney have lived in Gorleston for 28 years and say they are very happy at Meadow Court; just down the road in Lowestoft is nephew Roger Cook.

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