Thursday, February 14, 2013
The centenarian celebrated her birthday at her home in Northam with family and friends.
JESSIE Prentice has waited 100 years to receive a card from the Queen, and now it takes pride of place above her fireplace.
Celebrating her 100th birthday on Friday, Jessie, who lives in Northam, enjoyed an afternoon with family, friends, and members of her church.
Jessie grew up in New Southgate, London, and when she was four-years-old, she remembered seeing a zeppelin air ship shot down over Potters Bar.
Another early memory was her father telling her to get a shovel and go dig up a bomb that had landed near them.
In 1937, she married George Prentice, a customs and excise officer, who she met at a tennis match.
They had three children, Peter, Howard and Marion, and Jessie now has five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
The family had always dreamed of living near the sea, and after spending many years in Barnhurst, where they saw a doodle bug come down and narrowly miss their house, their dreams came true.
A customs post came up in Barnstaple, and in 1961, the family moved to Devon.
When Jessie was 55, in 1968, George died and she downsized from the four-bedroom house to her bungalow in Northam, where she has lived since 1981.
Her daughter-in-law Brenda Prentice, married to Peter, said: “Jessie has always been an active person.
“Besides making her daughter’s wedding dress from a picture and knitting jumpers without a pattern she did all her own driving and decorating until about two years ago.
“She didn’t learn to drive until after George’s death and then would drive regularly to London until she was 90, packing up driving at 94.”
On Friday, Jessie celebrated with friends, family, and members of Fremington Methodist Church.
She was also paid a surprise visit by Cllr Jane Whittaker, the mayor of Northam.
Cllr Whittaker said: “The family really wanted her to have a really momentous occasion, so I took her a greeting and some flowers from Northam Town Council and was delighted to do so.”
Brenda added: “I think she had a wonderful time and was so excited to receive her card from the Queen.”