HISTORY has repeated itself for a Dorset family as a spirited 100-year-old follows in her sister’s footsteps.

Audrey Palmer of Leydene Avenue, Bournemouth, reached her century milestone on Friday, November 19 – just as her late sister Rita did years before.

Audrey was born in 1921 and is the last of eight siblings – four boys and four girls. She was originally from Stalbridge before moving to Ensbury Avenue in Bournemouth.

During the Second World War, Audrey drove army lorries for the home effort despite not having passed her driving test. She explained that because the Army was so desperate for drivers to deliver supplies, they would turn a blind eye to those who had not passed their test.

Bournemouth Echo: Mrs Audrey Palmer of Bournemouth who celebrated her 100th birthday on November 19, 2021

She worked at Coppins, a “lovely” gardening centre near Ferndown for nearly 40 years along with her sister Nancy. After marrying, she had three boys – Steven and twins Nick and John. She also has one granddaughter and two great grandchildren.

Audrey’s sister Rita Bottomley was previously featured in the Echo in November 2000 after reaching 100. Interestingly, their other sister Nancy reached 94 and one brother, Jim, reached 90.

When asked what the secret was for the women in the family, Audrey said: “Well, we’re the boss.

“We’re very determined characters and if we set a goal we get there. We don’t give up easily, definitely not.”

Regarding her longevity, widow Audrey said: “There’s no good moaning, you’ve just got to get on with it. You’ve got to keep going, otherwise you’ll just cave in.

“I think you have to practise treating others as you wish to be treated and be helpful to everyone.”

Upon receiving her special letter of congratulations from the Queen, Audrey said it was lovely but that it was “just another day”.

Age has not wearied Audrey. Except for some difficulty hearing, the centurion is “hardly at home” and spends much of her time taking long walks and even still partakes in yoga.

She is proudly able to demonstrate touching her toes from a standing position – “how many 100-year-olds can do that?”, her son Steve asked.

Audrey said: “There’s nothing like yoga, you’ve got to try it. It’s a wonderful thing.”

She also regularly takes care of her garden and regularly cooks and bakes for her family – and has already made a Christmas cake for this year.

While describing his mother as “very self-sufficient”, Steven currently lives with Audrey to assist her.

She said: “I wouldn’t be here without Steven, he’s been absolutely wonderful. Honestly, no mother could have a better son. He’s so kind and helpful. I am blessed.”

On her birthday, Audrey was gifted to a surprise lunch at The Langton Arms in Tarrant Monkton near Blandford from her sons. She was driven by a chauffeured car and was surprised by around 20 family and friends.