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Connie 104 not out

PUBLISHED: 14:41 20 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 March 2010

SHE'S lived through three different centuries and two World Wars, was a young girl of four when Queen Victoria died, and got married in the same decade that Wembley Stadium was opened.

SHE'S lived through three different centuries and two World Wars, was a young girl of four when Queen Victoria died, and got married in the same decade that Wembley Stadium was opened.

And now Connie Stebbings has celebrated a remarkable milestone by reaching her 104th birthday.

Evening Star reporter NICK RICHARDS visited this amazing woman to join in with her big day.

A DROP of sherry was the only tipple Connie Stebbings was allowing to pass her lips for her birthday bash.

Along with a visit from Don Edwards, Ipswich's deputy mayor, family and friends, the 104-year-old was making her big day a one to remember.

Born on August 17, 1897, Connie has lived through not only the First and Second World War's but also the Boer War and the latter stages of the reign of Queen Victoria.

Such is Connie's achievement that she is almost three years older than Britain's most famous centenarian, the Queen Mother.

Connie, who is a resident at Cligerran House, at Monmouth Court, Ipswich, was joined by the deputy mayor, his wife Wanda, and more than 50 friends, family and other residents.

Connie is the eldest of six children and has managed to out-live her five siblings.

Her husband, Herbert, passed away in 1964, meaning that she has spent nearly 40 years as a widow.

She had two children, but both died at young ages – Edna aged 7 and John at 35.

Earlier on in her life she lived in Wattisham, Copdock, and Nayland before moving into Monmouth Court four years ago.

Connie's niece Iris Barrell explained that she loves to have people around and enjoys being made a fuss off. For her birthday she received gifts of sweets and flowers.

Another niece, Betty Carver, said that her earliest memory of her auntie was the outbreak of the Second World War.

"We were sitting around the kitchen table and listening to the radio at 11'o'clock and that was how I heard that war had been declared on Germany.

During the war she had two evacuees staying with her."

Betty puts Auntie Connie's longevity down to the fact that she has worked hard all her life and hasn't eaten that much red meat.

"She eats a bit of chicken, but I can't remember her eating red meat. She used to keep goats on her smallholding and would keep them well under control.

"She used to make butter from the goats' milk which is something unusual."

Mr Edwards proposed a toast to Connie in which he said: "She is a credit to the community – someone who has lived in three centuries, is still sprightly in movement and has a wicked sense of humour.

"She has survived well through two World Wars and is a credit to her friends and family.

"She should play for the England cricket team as she has proved she can get to a century."

Connie then took part in a sing along, tapping her feet to a stirring rendition of For She's A Jolly Good Fellow.

TO GO IN SEPARATE COLUMN

The Life of Connie:

1897 Connie is born in August, the same year in which H.G Wells War Of The Worlds is first released.

1901 Queen Victoria dies after a 64-year-reign on the British throne. Connie is only four-years-old

1914 Connie is 17 when the First World War begins. By the time it is over, she is in her early twenties.

1925 Connie and her husband Herbert marry, two years after Wembley Stadium opens and a year before Scottish inventor John-Logie Baird demonstrated the first fully working prototype of the television.

1929 The Wall Street crash sees more than $20billion wiped off the value of shares in America. Connie is 33.

1945 The Second World War ends with Connie just two years away from reaching her half-century,

1957 Connie becomes a pensioner six weeks to the day after John Lennon had met Paul McCartney for the first time at the annual fete in Woolton, Liverpool.

1964 Two years before England win the World Cup, Connie, aged 67 becomes a widow when her husband dies.

1969 Man lands on the moon for the first time a month before Connie turns 73.

1977 Connie celebrates her 80th birthday – one day after Elvis Presley dies.

1997 A fortnight before Princess Diana dies in Paris, Connie turns 100.

2000 The Queen Mother turns 100, with Connie gearing up for birthday number 103.

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