With the centenary of the start of the First World War looming, it’s a sobering thought that Dorothy Harding was almost seven years old when the conflict began in 1914.
Now, at 105, Dorothy is believed to be the oldest resident of Lewes.
King Edward VII was on the throne when she was born in Northampton on September 25, 1907.
She was the eldest of three children and lost her father in 1918 to illness contracted while fighting in the trenches.
Dorothy worked in Northampton’s famous shoe business and married her husband, Charles, in 1932. They moved to Lewes in 1959 when he got a job in print design at Wightman and Parrish in Friars Walk.
She has lived at the same address in St Swithun’s Terrace for more than 50 years.
Longevity seems to run in Dorothy’s family - her grandmother lived to the age of 105 and her sister died earlier this year at 100.
She became a familiar face in Lewes because of her work in local charity shops, including the Red Cross and Help The Aged. She was still working at the St Peter and St James hospice outlet in her nineties.
Dorothy had two children, Molly and the late Ian, and is the proud grandmother to four and great-grandmother to five.
She received a card of congratulations from The Queen on her birthday and celebrated with a family lunch at Stanmer House.
Later it was open house in St Swithun’s Terrace - and more than 40 neighbours and friends visited to offer their best wishes and share cake and a glass of bubbly.
Dorothy is often asked what the secret is of such a long life. She can be quite mischievous: “I just keep breathing in and out,” is a favourite response. Daughter Molly said she had always maintained a positive outlook on life and kept her mind sharp with puzzles and crosswords.
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Weather for Lewes
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South west