Sunrise of Virginia Water Resident Celebrates Her 101st birthday

Sunrise  |  June 25, 2020

Joan, a resident of Sunrise of Virginia Water, has celebrated her 101st birthday.

Although social distancing guidance meant that Joan was unable to celebrate her special day as normal, staff at Sunrise of Virginia Water ensured she had a wonderful day.

Joan started her day by having breakfast and opening her cards and presents with the home’s Activities and Volunteer Co-ordinator, Samantha, before having her hair done by Tracy, Director of Community Relations. In the afternoon, a ‘low-key’, socially distanced tea party with a few fellow residents was organised where they all sung along to their favourite songs.

Born in Wimbledon, London, Joan has lived in a remarkable number of places throughout her life, in part due to her father’s work as a Naval Architect. She has lived in Kew, Monkseaton, Barrow-in-Furness, and went to boarding school in South Port. After finishing her studies, Joan moved back to London to attend the Secretarial College before moving to Aylesbury where she worked for the Treasurer’s Office.

When the war broke out in 1939, Joan was asked by her father to return to Barrow to ensure her safety. She recalls how, on the second night of her return to Barrow, the warning sirens went off and two land mines were dropped just by her family home. As the house was badly damaged, Joan and her family moved in with some local family friends. While living here, Joan said she liked to play the piano while the family friend’s daughter sung.

While back in Barrow, Joan got a new job in the local shipyard and joined their hockey team, before joining the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRAF). Seemingly unable to stay in one place for too long, she moved back to Wimbledon to live with a friend whose husband was travelling for work. Little did she know, Joan would soon meet her soon-to-be-husband, Laurie, as he was a friend of the lady Joan was living with.

Leaving Wimbledon, Joan moved to Putney into a shared-flat and started working with the Chief Medical Officer at Anglo American. Then, after marrying Laurie, Joan moved to Hendon to live with her new husband before both moving to Chertsey, Surrey. While in Chertsey, Joan re-joined the WRAF where she delivered meals on wheels and also worked in Wimbledon Tennis. Joan eventually became the District Organiser of Runnymede where she worked until moving into Sunrise of Virginia Water in 2016.

Asked what her secret to such a long life is, Joan said: “One boiled egg for breakfast, play a lot of sports, and keep a healthy life.”

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