A surprise 100th birthday party has been thrown for a much-loved resident at a Norwich care home.

Lilian James hit the milestone on October 25 and staff, friends and family ensured the special day was marked in style at the Meadows Care Home in Bowthorpe.

Meadows Wellbeing Coordinator Shelley Plant joked: “We were all a little worried Lilian would hate us for this!

“She has remained fearlessly independent and strong in both body and mind.”

She added Lilian “has a large friendship group” and is “adored by both tenants and staff.”

She was given presents and a huge photo montage detailing key moments in her life.

Lilian was born on October 25, 1923 in the east end of London and was the fourth of 10 children, and lived through the blitz.

Shelley Plant said: “At one point she was a bus conductress but gave that up when she was bombed off a bus.”

She joined the Land Army during WW2 and also worked with German and Italian PoWs.

She even drove a tractor on a farm in Essex “bringing in the harvest when rats as big as cats were seen”.

In 1949 she married Jim and has two daughters, Laura and Linda.

They lived in the east end, Hampshire and Surrey before Jim’s death in 1981.

She retired from her job as housekeeper for The Abbeyfield Society at the age of 72 and moved to Northamptonshire to be near her sister.

She moved to Norfolk to be close to one of her daughters and three grandchildren.

Lilian has been at The Meadows for six years and enjoys bingo, quizzes and playing cards.

Shelley Plant added: “Lilian likes horse racing and enjoys a cheeky bet.

“She is quite tech savvy and enjoys facetiming her family.”

Three of her brothers and a sister are still alive.