Ipswich: Meet 107-year-old birthday girl Doris - who puts her long life down to hard work

One of Suffolk’s oldest residents celebrated her 107th birthday yesterday.

And when asked her secret to living a long life, Doris Punchard’s answer was simple. “Hard work,’’ she said.

Miss Punchard – known to her friends as Punch – recalled how she got her first car in the early 1930s although admitted: “I didn’t ever have to pass a test.” She was still at the wheel until she was over 80 years old,.

Miss Punchard has received numerous cards wishing her well on her birthday – including several from people who worked with her at the National Deposit Friendly Society and have kept in touch with her throughout their lives.

She has been a regular church-goer at St Matthew’s Church since 1952 and treasures her church friends dearly.

“They’re all such wonderful caring lot, they’re lovely,” she said. “If it wasn’t for all the loving care I get from the friends at church I would never be able to carry on.

“I want it known how wonderful St Matthews is – it’s a loving church and the Lord Jesus is with me day by day.”

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One of the most special gifts Miss Punchard received for her birthday was a hand-signed photograph from Rowan Williams – the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Miss Punchard lived through both World Wars and has strong memories of both.

She said: “During the First World War we had soldiers billeted with us and I used to keep their equipment clean for them.

“They used to come home here and my mother used to cook them lunch on a Sunday.

“They were wonderful, they still came several years after the war finished to see us.”

During the Second World War she was working at the National Deposit Friendly Society.

She said: “I was the only one left in the office so I was in charge. We used to work until about ten o’clock at night sometimes auditing accounts and then at the weekends I used to work on the wards up at the hospital.”

Although Miss Punchard received a card from the Queen when she turned 100 – she has since declined any further birthday correspondence from the monarch.

“I’ve refused them each year,” she said. “Everyone thinks it’s amazing that I don’t want one every year but where would I put them all? I’ve already got one for my 100th and I’ve got that framed in the front room.”