DOROTHY Larner, who marked her milestone 105th birthday with her daughters on Mother’s Day yesterday, can still recount poetry from her youth word-for-word.
Her incredible memory was put to the test at Barton-on-Sea’s Gatehouse Care Home, where family members including daughters, Maureen, 81, and Valerie, 79, had gathered to celebrate her big day.
Dorothy, who lived in Hordle in the New Forest before moving to the home, was happy to give the Daily Echo a few verses.
And on the secret to her longevity, she said: “I’ve just lived a normal life, I eat what I like, I try not to worry and I enjoy life.”
She also praised her family and care home staff.
“I was a bit apprehensive about moving in at first, but now I realise it couldn’t be better.”
This is the second time Dorothy has received a birthday goodwill message from HRH Queen Elizabeth – having had one five years ago when she reached 100.
Longevity is in the genes, with Dorothy’s eldest sister, mum, grandmother and grandfather all reaching the grand old age of 99.
Amazingly, one of Dorothy’s earliest memories is of Zeppelins over southern England during the Great War. “I remember them circling above,” she said.
Recalling a time when she was seven years old, as a ‘Rosebud’, a precursor to the Brownies, she said: “I remember going to Highcliffe Castle and it rained. We were camping and our captain broke through the door to the castle, as we needed somewhere to sleep in the dry, and we lay our beds on the floor.
“There were only three shops in Highcliffe at that time.”