CENTENARIAN Doris Wilcox who survived two world wars has said the secret to her longevity is always keeping busy, and has stuck to her motto her whole life.
Doris, who has lived in Penhill for the past 20 years, celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday with her family in Haydon Leigh.
She said: “We went to my son’s house and around 35 people came along.
“I thought it was just going to be a small family gathering but there were all these people who came from all over the place. I hadn’t seen some of them for 30 years and they came all the way just to see me.”
Doris has lived on her own since she lost her 87-year-old husband Herbert in 2000, and despite her family trying to give her more support she prefers to do it on her own.
Her only son, David, 65, said: “We try to help her more but she just won’t let us.”
Doris said: “If you can do it yourself why should you have help. I don’t want any help while I can do it myself. I keep the house tidy and I do the cleaning and the washing all by myself.
“As long as I can do it I should do it. I have got to keep on going, if I give up I’ve had it, that’s my motto, don’t give up. If you give up you’ve had it.”
Doris said the best thing about turning 100 was all the presents.
She said: “When you get to this age and I can’t watch the television so well you think about your life and everything you have done.”
Doris was one of 16 children, and her mother died when she was a only about six years old, leaving behind a new born baby.
Her father eventually married their neighbour, a war-widow from the First World War who had taken a shine to Doris’ little brother. As soon as Doris turned 16, she went straight to work.
She said: “I went to work at the County Ground Hotel when I was 16 and I stayed there a while.
“Then I went to the Central, which was a working men’s club near the Milton bridge. They were looking for stewards and stewardesses to pull the pints out and everything.
“That was until we got called up for the war effort, and we had to travel to Malmesbury every day to build things like radars for ships and stuff.
“And after the war I went to work on the production line for Garrard’s making record players.”
On Boxing Day in 1946, Doris, then 32, married her husband, who worked on the railways.
Doris then had her son, David, and when he was 13 she returned to work at the Wiser’s Bakery in Headlands Grove.