'I never thought I would make it this far' - Clayhall resident turns 100
PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:33 29 May 2019
The family of a 100-year-old Clayhall resident said the secret to her long life might be letting her late husband do most of the cooking and gardening.
Joan Holland, a Kelvedon Lodge resident, will be celebrating her milestone birthday with family and friends today (Wednesday, Mya 29).
Born on May 29, 1919, Joan has lived in Redbridge for the last five years and her daughter, Sandra, has lived in Gants Hill for nearly 30 years.
"I don't feel any different from last week," Joan said. "It would be nice to feel young."
Born in Northampton, Joan has three children, seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
When she left school, Joan worked in a shoe factory in Northampton until the war broke out. She met her husband, got married and moved to Nottingham and that was about 74 years ago, according to her daughter.
"He was in the Royal Air Force - we met at a club where all of his gang used to go in the evening," Joan said.
Joan and her husband, who worked as a monotype caster in the printing industry, had two sons and a daughter.
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Joan recalls weekend trips to the seaside with her husband - he would wake up at 5am to make sandwiches for the trip.
"We used to go to Hunstanton every weekend - we would leave at 6am and stop halfway with a flask of tea or coffee and have our sandwiches," Joan said.
Beyond the UK, Joan only went on an aeroplane once - to America. She got her passport just for that trip.
"I refused to get on the plane at first, and once inside, I took the aisle seat. I thought 'that's a long way to fall', but when we were in the air, the air hostess took me up the cockpit. I could see all the instruments. And when my friend and her sister were asleep, she brought me a great big piece of cake."
Joan went back to work in her 50s, working at a department store called Lewis's in Leicester, cutting ham on the food stall.
"I loved working there - I was so sad when they closed down," Joan said.
Joan's daughter thinks her mother's long life is down to her father doing most of the physical housework.
"She has never done the physical side of housekeeping, so maybe it's being looked after which has helped," Sandra said. "But mentally, she doesn't dwell on stuff either, which might have helped."
For her birthday, Joan received lots of flowers and chocolates - and a card from the Queen.
"I did think I'd get a few cards, but not all this," Joan said. "I don't know where time has gone. I never thought I would make it this far. None of my school friends did, they are all gone. I'm the only one left."