Gorleston centenarian credits long life to retail therapy!

AT 100 years old you could be forgiven for slipping into your cosiest slippers and fleecy dressing gown whatever the occasion.

But life-long fashion lover Olive Weimer wasn't going to pass up the chance to reach for her finery and paint her nails for her milestone birthday, even though she was in hospital and supposedly taking it easy in her nightie.

Mrs Weimer who credits retail therapy as one of the elements that has helped sustain her long and happy life was a consummate 'shopaholic' long before the term was invented, her love of beautiful clothes being a constant thread running through the fabric of her life.

And the 100 year old, who has been living independently in Gorleston hopping on buses to visit her favourite stores in Norwich, still likes to look 'just so.'

On Wednesday she was surrounded by dozens of friends and relatives at Gorleston's James Paget Hospital, balloons bobbing about her bay and champagne glasses chinking.

Mrs Weimer who lives in her childhood home in Lovewell Road, Gorleston, has a sister Elsie, 96, nearby.

Her first husband Cecil was killed in the early 1940s in an air raid which dumped deathly explosives on Northgate Street, in Yarmouth, after which she moved away and spent the rest of her working life with de Havilland and as a manageress for Dickens and Jones, an upmarket department store now a fashion brand for House of Fraser.

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After 40 years away from the town, Olive and her second husband Charles with whom she had a daughter Jane moved back to Gorleston and into the family home where she grew up.

She was widowed 25 years ago but continued to live a full and independent life, her age only beginning to catch up with her around two years ago.

Her daughter Jane Graham, who travelled from her home in Cyprus for the occasion, said her mother had been in hospital since October when she suddenly lost the use of her hands but was extremely happy and being well looked after by the staff.

'She has a bit of a wicked sense of humour,' she said. 'She is very generous and kind, and a bit of shopaholic - always very smart and 'just so'.'

Her neighbour Brian Burrage said she was well known in Gorleston and was delighted to receive a card from the ladies in the post office alongside the one from the Queen in her diamond jubilee year.

He added that she cooked every day and looked after herself well.

The hospital party comprised three hours of fun, champagne and balloons and a celebration cake made by family friend Vicki Osborne from Bradwell.

When asked about the secret to a long life Mrs Weimer said: 'Keeping busy at work, being happy and cheerful and lots of retail therapy.'