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Norwich: Birthday celebrations for "heart and soul" of housing complex

PUBLISHED: 12:57 01 June 2010 | UPDATED: 16:59 01 July 2010

100-year-old Millicent Murrell with the Sheriff Derek James and his wife Bridgette.

100-year-old Millicent Murrell with the Sheriff Derek James and his wife Bridgette.

Sam Emanuel

A sprightly woman who is described by her friends as "the heart and soul" of the sheltered housing complex she lives at has celebrated her 100th birthday with a bouquet from the Sheriff of Norwich.

A sprightly woman who is described by her friends as “the heart and soul” of the sheltered housing complex she lives at has celebrated her 100th birthday with a bouquet from the Sheriff of Norwich.

Millie Murrell, whose birthday was on Sunday, was visited by Sheriff Derek James and given a special cake and other gifts from her friends at Rowland Court, off Queen's Road, as well as receiving a telegram from the Queen.

She is the last surviving original resident of the complex, and has lived there since June 1985.

Her friend Jenny Campling, 73, who has lived there herself for nine years, said: “Millie is the heart and soul of Rowland Court. She has always been here and everybody knows her.

“She's quite a direct lady and says what she thinks, and she has got lots of friends here.”

Mrs Campling organised a collection among the residents for the overwhelmed Mrs Murrell, and managed to raise more than £50, which has been spent on presents including a personalised cake, a card which had been signed by everyone living at Rowland Court, and a photograph of the 100-year-old with the Sheriff.

Mrs Murrell, 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 from Kenninghall near Attleborough when she was 16 and spent seven years working as a maid for the Read family, who were in the flour business, in Mile End Road, Norwich.

She 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.

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

Do you know someone who will soon be 100 or older, or will you be celebrating another special anniversary? Call Sam Emanuel on 01603 772438 or email sam.emanuel@archant.co.uk.

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