Yarmouth centenarian is surrounded by flowers and family

MORE than 91 cards, and “enough flowers to fill a florists” marked a milestone occasion for a Yarmouth great grandmother who has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Ivy Beckett was joined by the Mayor, Barry Coleman, and family and friends for the special day on Friday.

Ivy was born on Row 34 in Yarmouth in 1911 to a big family of four brothers and one sister. But these early years were marred by tragedy when she experienced the loss of one brother and her younger sister.

Her brother Berti died as a prisoner-of-war working on the notorious Burma railway. And her one-year-old sister died when she contracted measles from her older brothers.

Ivy began working at an early age making tea for players and supporters at the Wellesley football ground.

The job caused her to rub shoulders with the rich and famous, including stars such as Des O’Connor, Marty Wilde, Billy Fury and Bert Weedon, taking part in the summer all-star football matches.

Her work also led to her first encounter with her husband, Eddie Beckett, who she met while working on the first tea stall on Yarmouth beach.

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Ivy later wrapped sweets for six shillings a week at the Dowcra Sweet Factory, on Middlegate Street, and worked at Brundish Undertakers, a crisp factory in Cobholm, on a shrimp and salmon paste production line, a kipper factory and Marshalls canning factory.

She has two sons, Brian and David; three grandchildren, Maria, Vincent and Stephen, and four great grandchildren, Lewis, Brandon, Jackson and Carson.

Her husband died at the age of 64.

Family friend Erica Lowe, of Caister, said: “She got so many cards and enough bouquets of flowers to fill a florists.

“The mayor was fantastic and stayed for quite a long time, and she was also visited by friends, relatives and her hairdresser.

“I would have to say that she enjoyed every single minute of it and stopped to say thank you and ‘nice to see you’ to everyone before they left.”

Are you celebrating a 100th birthday? Contact reporter Ben Woods on 01493 847961 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk