100-year-old Ann credits 'toughness' to serving in WWII Land Army

Ann Catchpole is celebrating her 100th birthday. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ann Catchpole is celebrating her 100th birthday with her son Peter. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A 100-year-old Ipswich mum has credited her time in the Women's Land Army during WWII for her "toughness". 

Ann Catchpole living in the Castle Hill and Whitton area is celebrating her 100th birthday on Sunday by going out for a meal with her son. 

Mrs Catchpole said: "They say give me the remedy and I say 'All I can say is hard work and worry'. 

Ann Catchpole is celebrating her 100th birthday. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ann Catchpole has always tried to look on the bright side - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"I've had a varied life, I've always had friends and a happy life. I've always tried to be cheerful and I suppose that's the answer to it."

She was born on January 30, 1922, in Dudley, one of three girls, having sisters, Mary and Edith. 

Mrs Cathpole later moved to London to live, with her uncle when her dad died, and was drafted in to picking crops and doing all the jobs that the men had done during the war. 

The 100-year-old spent seven years working day-in, day-out to grow food to get Britain through the war as part of the Land Army. 

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"I think that is what toughened me up," she said. "I did manual work all the time, felling the great big trees.

"I was in the kitchen garden at Stutton. 

"I came on the train on my own and I didn't know where I was, I never had heard of Suffolk before."

This is where she would meet her future husband, Stanley Catchpole, a former head gardener. 

Ann Catchpole is celebrating her 100th birthday. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Stanley and Ann Catchpole - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/ Ann Catchpole

"I took his job really and he was called up in the Army and he went through Dunkirk and D-Day and we got friendly when he came home from Dunkirk. 

"He came around the gardens and I thought he's quite dishy. 

"He became a prisoner of war and we didn't know where he was for two years. 

"It was a worry. I didn't promise I'd wait or anything for him, I didn't know what was going to happen. 

"But he came home without a scratch, he was one of the lucky ones."

Her husband later maintained Christchurch and Chantry Parks before getting the lung condition emphysema.

Peter Catchpole, her son, regularly sees her and will take her out for a meal for her 100th birthday. 

Ann Catchpole is celebrating her 100th birthday. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ann Catchpole is celebrating her 100th birthday. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

He said in the Summer they are looking forward to having a bigger birthday bash outside due to the Covid risk being inside during the winter. 

Mrs Catchpole said she was looking forward to a bigger party then. 

She added: "I've met very nice people in Ipswich. 

"We had nothing years ago. You didn't expect the things. You were brought up the hard way in the beginning."