December 10 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Good genes and a strict beauty regime are the key to a youthful appearance according to Holt centenarian Sue Mander.
The 100-year-old is regularly told she looks in her seventies, and puts it down to “vitamins in the morning, a glass of wine with lunch” and looking after her skin.
“People are surprised when I tell them how old I am and I don’t know what it is, but I never see a doctor.
“I have always looked after my skin and put my make-up on, even if I’m not going out,” she explained.
Born Susannah Hobbs in the East End of London, she worked in to the offices of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, training to use a new punched card machine when it was introduced in the early 1930s.
By the time she got married in her home district of Mile End, Tower Hamlets, Mrs Mander was charge of the company’s whole punched card operation, heading a team of 50 women.
She and husband Ronald moved just a few miles away to Forest Gate and, days after their wedding, the London Blitz began.
Ronald was called up just weeks later and spent the first two-and-a-half years of the war away a sea on a battleship.
“I didn’t see him at all,” Mrs Mander said. “But you just got on with it.”
At the end of the war, Ronald returned home to work in the production department of Ford Motor Company, while Sue concentrated on bringing up sons Robert and John.
After Ronald died in 1979 Mrs Mander moved to Brentwood, Essex, then to the north Norfolk coast five years ago, to be near son John and his wife Pat, who run a bed and breakfast at Blakeney.
Since 1976, when oldest son Robert moved to Australia, she has visited Sydney 15 times, with her last trip made at the age of 97.
Birthday celebrations for Mrs Mander, who has five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, began on Friday, when a group of 18 family and friends arrived from Australia.
They continued with a party for 80 people on Saturday on the theme of “Better than Bradman” – after Sir Donald Bradman, the Australian cricketer who achieved a career batting average of 99.94 in the 1930s and 40s.
A Sunday tea for 40 for family members and neighbours was held at Ainsworth Court, Holt, where Mrs Mander lives.
Her actual birthday was on Monday. As well as a card from the Queen, there was also one from West Ham Football Club, where she is a former season ticket holder.