Fond memories of 100-year-old Swindon grandmother Dorothy Bland, who has died

This Is Wiltshire: Dorothy Bland, with her card from the Queen on her 100th birthday last year Dorothy Bland, with her card from the Queen on her 100th birthday last year

TRIBUTES have been paid to Dorothy Bland after the 100-year-old died this week.

Dorothy has left a large family: Daughter Pamela, 67, four grandchildren – Gary, 39, Sally, 40, Dale, 42, and Julie, 43 and 14 greatgrandchildren, the youngest of whom is Oscar, aged just nine months.

Having served in London during the Second World War and survived the blitz, Dorothy settled in Swindon when she was 30, and enjoyed football, tennis and holidays to Spain.

She married twice, first to Alec Viner, then to James Bland, who was the architect who designed the bridge by the Wyvern Theatre.

“She was a real lady,” Pamela said. “She always had her earrings in and got dolled up, whatever the occasion.

“She would always come down on me hard if I didn’t have any make up on.

“If I had something, she always wanted it. If I bought a dress she would always ask why I hadn’t got one for her.”

Dorothy put her long life down to keeping busy, and fought off the dangers of drinking and smoking.

“She always put down her old age to hard work,” said Pamela.

“You don’t have to go out to work to work, and she did so much round the house.

“She had a big house on Sheppard Street, and used to take in boarders. Then my dad died and she got remarried.

“Then when her second husband died she came to live with us and stayed with us ever since. She lived with us for 34 years.

“Her son died 20 years ago when he was 49, and that hit her hard. She did not take it very well, and she was never really the same after that.

“Even later she did not like drink. Years ago she used to drink a lot, but she just stopped and never touched a drop since.

“She smoked until she was 92, then she had to have a pacemaker fitted and she just packed up smoking there and then.”

Dorothy had been suffering from dementia for years, and deteriorated after contracting a chest infection before Christmas. She died of pneumonia.

“The dementia was gradual to start with,” said Pamela. “They say it gets worse, but she seemed to recover a little towards the very end.

“It is an awful thing to watch, and often we knew it wasn’t really her. She had been gone a long time before she went.

“It was still quite a shock, because she came down with pneumonia unexpectedly. She had stayed lively, and she adored holidays to Spain. We took her in September.

“We would like to give many thanks to the girls at Abbey Care who helped look after her for the last six months.”

A funeral service will be held at Kingsdown Crematorium at 2.30pm on February 4. Family and friends are welcome, and donations are invited to The Dementia Society.

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