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Hard work, gin and tonic and a weekly portion of fish and chips keeps Joy Thomas going at 99

PUBLISHED: 11:18 11 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:18 11 February 2018

Joy Thomas, celebrating her 100th birthday with a visit to her favourite fish and chip Restaurant, The Rembrandt in Easton.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Joy Thomas, celebrating her 100th birthday with a visit to her favourite fish and chip Restaurant, The Rembrandt in Easton. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Hard work, gin and tonic, and a weekly portion of fish and chips - that is the secret to a long life according to 99-year-old Joy Thomas.

Joy Thomas, celebrating her 100th birthday with a visit to her favourite fish and chip Restaurant, The Rembrandt in Easton.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYJoy Thomas, celebrating her 100th birthday with a visit to her favourite fish and chip Restaurant, The Rembrandt in Easton. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The soon-to-be centenarian was treated to an early birthday dinner at the Rembrant Restaurant in Easton on Saturday with family and friends.

Mrs Thomas, who turns 100 on February 18, has visited the fish and chip shop every weekend for the past decade with her 95-year-old friend, Doris Baxter.

Prior to her meal, she normally calls her grandson to make a bet on the horse racing, before heading home to Costessey to watch the race on TV.

Mrs Thomas was born in Norwich and grew up on Devonshire Street, attending Nelson Infant School and a secondary school on Avenue Road.

Joy Thomas, celebrating her 100th birthday with a visit to her favourite fish and chip Restaurant, The Rembrandt in Easton. Owner Skip Cappuccio hands Joy a plate of fish and chips.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYJoy Thomas, celebrating her 100th birthday with a visit to her favourite fish and chip Restaurant, The Rembrandt in Easton. Owner Skip Cappuccio hands Joy a plate of fish and chips. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

From the age of 14, she worked as a housekeeper in the city, before meeting her first husband, Norman Goldsmith.

The pair were married in Leicester in the early 1940s. But nine months after the wedding in 1943, Norman was killed by a sniper in Italy, aged 22.

He was buried at Salerno War Cemetery in Italy.

Two years later, Mrs Thomas married Gilbert Allen Thomas in Norwich and had two daughters with him, Janet and Bridget.

Joy Thomas, celebrating her 100th birthday with a visit to her favourite fish and chip Restaurant, The Rembrandt in Easton.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYJoy Thomas, celebrating her 100th birthday with a visit to her favourite fish and chip Restaurant, The Rembrandt in Easton. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

At the time she had been training to become a midwife, but never finished the course.

Her husband, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, later became an optical technician, before working as a proof reader for the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News.

He died in 1986, aged 75, following a stroke.

Mrs Thomas’ daughter, Janet Baxter, 71, said her mother had gone through four cancer operations and has a bionic elbow following a fall.

As well as two daughters, she has five grand children and two great grandchildren.

Speaking about almost reaching 100, Mrs Thomas said: “I can’t believe it really. I have got all of my marbles with me.”

Her granddaughter Helen Gooch, 37, who takes Mrs Thomas and Doris to the restaurant every weekend, said: “I think she is amazing.”

To say thank you for being such a loyal customer to Rembrant Restaurant, owner Skip Cappuccio provided her with a cake and free meal.

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