A card from The Queen was one of the highlights for Catherine Bulman as she celebrated her 100th birthday in Ringmer.
It’s an image she is sure to cherish – just as she has for more than 30 years a photograph of her meeting with The Pope.
Catherine was born in County Limerick in Ireland in 1912, the youngest of four children.
At the age of 19 she left for England, like many Irish youngsters, in order to find work.
For a number of years she was in domestic service in London before moving into general catering in various hotels and restaurants in London’s West End.
In 1938 she married David Bulman, a hotel proprietor, and had a son, Michael, born in 1944. Unfortunately, her husband did not survive the war.
Catherine spent most of the war in London, living through the worst of the Blitz and working for several years as a welder in the old Kelvinator factory where she contributed to the war effort by making bomb racks for aircraft.
After the war she remained in the capital and returned to the catering profession until the 1970s.
Always a devout Catholic, she had the great pleasure of being presented to Pope John Paul II in 1980 and a photo of this event is one of her most treasured possessions.
Catherine eventually retired down to East Sussex in 2005, and lived happily in Eastbourne until February of this year.
She is now a resident of Lime Tree House in Ringmer, near her son Michael who lives in Glynde with his wife, Liz, and their two sons.