Gallery: Suffolk’s oldest resident and super-centenarian Doris Punchard marks 110th birthday
10:47 21 July 2014
She is a super-centenarian, Suffolk’s oldest resident and is thought to be the 16th oldest person in Britain.
And on Saturday, Doris Punchard – affectionately known as Punch – celebrated her 110th birthday milestone surrounded by friends.
Punch was born in Springfield Lane, Ipswich, on July 19, 1904, and was just 10 at the outbreak of the First World War.
She recalled: “My mother and I were staying in Felixstowe when the war broke out because my father was building some bungalows there at the time.
“We went down to the station and you couldn’t walk through for the amount of luggage that had been abandoned.
“You would have thought the Germans were going to bomb Felixstowe any minute with the bags left scattered around.”
She also recalled the time she anxiously waited for news of her aunt, Salvation Army captain Selena Cook, who was onboard the Titanic on its fateful voyage to New York on April 10, 1912.
“It was a relief when we heard she was safe. She was the oldest to be saved,” she said. “She was going to bring her son on the trip but at the last minute she decided not to so she was very thankful for that.”
Punch, who up until last year lived alone but now lives in Beach Lawn care home in Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, after a fall, went to secondary school in Bolton Lane.She worked for the National Deposit Friendly Scheme for 42 years and retired at the age of 64.
“I’ve always been a hard worker. I worked for the same firm for 42 years and now I have been retired for longer that the period I worked,” she said.
After retiring, Punch, who never married, took her opportunity to travel and visited Switzerland on eight occasions as well as visiting the south of France, Austria and Scotland.Punch started to drive in 1934 and one of her earliest motoring memories was driving down Norwich Road to be greeted by a herd of cows being brought up to be milked. “Can you imagine that happening now?” she joked.
Punch’s special birthday was celebrated with a party thrown by her loyal friend Freda Smith, who drives Punch to St Matthew’s Church every Sunday, at her home in The Avenue, Ipswich.
“Freda is wonderful and is a marvellous worker with the church,” Punch explained. “Everybody at the church is a wonderful friend and I’m so thankful for their help.”
The birthday girl was given dozens of cards and presents from her friends as well as a special card from the Queen.
Punch said: “I didn’t want a card every year from the Queen so I asked not to be sent them. Where was I going to put them all?
“I have the card from my 100th birthday in a frame in my room but my 110th one is much nicer so I’m going to swap them over.”