Bowls and sherry keeps Flo fit

A CABINET full of trophies reminds of the long and successful career on Devon bowling greens of Bideford centenarian Flo Hartnoll.

Flo, of Marlborough Court in Bideford, played the game until she was 80 when a broken leg and subsequent hip problems forced her to retire.

Born Flo Steer in Clifton Street, Bideford, she has spent her whole life in North Devon.

She was married to her late husband Leonard, a Barnstaple man, for nearly 50 years and spent most of her bowls playing years with the United Services Bowling Club in Barnstaple. For many years she was also a Devon ‘skip’.

Flo’s interest in the game continues with occasional walks to nearby Victoria Park, where she can watch the bowlers there in action.


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Her 100th birthday on Thursday was celebrated with no fewer than three parties.

One at Marlborough Court was held ahead of her big day. Then followed another on the day with fellow members of the whist club at Marlborough Court, where she plays twice a week, and then a family party at Durrant House Hotel.

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Flo’s recipe for a long and active life is, she says, a nightly glass of sherry.

That began when she was looking after her elderly mother and asked a friend, a former matron in the London hospital, what she could get for her.

“She told me to buy mother a bottle of sherry as that would do her good,” said Flo. “I did and after she was gone I started drinking it myself!”

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