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Millie, 100, hopes for a special birthday present

PUBLISHED: 15:39 28 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 01 July 2010

Millie Murrell.

Millie Murrell.

Peter Walsh

When Millie Murrell turns 100 this weekend she will receive a number of gifts, including a telegram from the Queen, but the best present of all would be if her threatened day centre could be saved - so she could celebrate more birthdays with her friends.

When Millie Murrell turns 100 this weekend she will receive a number of gifts, including a telegram from the Queen, but the best present of all would be if her threatened day centre could be saved - so she could celebrate more birthdays with her friends.

Millie, who lives near to Queen's Road in Norwich has been coming to the Essex Rooms in Essex Street, off Unthank Road, twice a week for the past 13 years.

It is a place she has come to know and love - somewhere she can come and meet friends, play cards or bingo, be entertained by singers, go on trips, and be looked after and supported by caring staff.

But as she approaches her landmark birthday on Sunday, Millie, who was born in Kenninghall, near Attleborough, said she is worried about the prospect of the county council-run centre being closed following a shake up in the way the authority provides care.

She said: “Don't decide to close it for goodness sake, that's the last thing I want.

“I love coming here - I've been coming for quite a few years now. The people are all very friendly and we always have a lovely time.

“I look forward to coming here twice a week. I think we're all a very friendly lot and its good to see the people we see every week.”

The Essex Rooms, along with the Silver Rooms, which is also run by the county council, was suggested for closure last October.

But in the wake of anger from the pensioners who use the centres and their families, the county council agreed to carry out a consultation.

Yesterdaythe Evening News reported how the centres could yet be spared from the axe, after councillors agreed there was merit in giving community groups the chance to make a case for them taking them over.

Millie said: “If I couldn't come here it would just be an ordinary day, but I love coming here. It's lovely that I will be able to celebrate my birthday with all my friends.”

Millie, who has been married twice but has no children, puts her longevity down to the fact that she has had a very “contented life” and tries not to remember the “sad things”.

She moved to Norwich when she was 16 and spent seven years working as a maid for RJ Read, the flour family, in Mile End Road, Norwich.

Millie went onto work in a number of shops, including Rothmans tobacconist in London Street, Jarrolds, and WHSmith, as well as working for a number of families helping out with the children and housework.

She had a very close relationship with her father, Ernest, and has gone on to have a fondness for men throughout her life which still continues to this day. She said: “I loved the men and think they loved me. There's not enough men coming here!”

What do you think of plans to save the centres? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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