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Muriel celebrates her 106th birthday with cake and a glass of sherry

Muriel Barker from Ipswich is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

Muriel Barker from Ipswich is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

Family and friends have raised a glass for Muriel ‘Midge’ Barker – who celebrates her 106th birthday on Friday

Muriel Barker from Ipswich is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Picture: GREGG BROWN.Muriel Barker from Ipswich is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

A birthday bash was held for Mrs Barker at The Foxhall Centre in Ipswich yesterday, with a few slices of cake and the odd glass of sherry to mark the big occasion.

Deputy mayor Roger Fern also turned up to say ‘hello’ to the birthday girl, and to pass on a card from the mayor’s office.

However, Mrs Barker didn’t see what the fuss was all about.

“I just like to keep myself to myself,” she said.

Muriel Barker from Ipswich is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Left to right, granddaughter Julia Strutt, Muriel Barker and Roger Fern. Picture: GREGG BROWN.Muriel Barker from Ipswich is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Left to right, granddaughter Julia Strutt, Muriel Barker and Roger Fern. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

Mrs Barker was born on September 22, 1911, the same year George V was crowned King.

Her first job was at Churchman’s cigarette factory in Princes Street in Ipswich where she worked as a leaf stripper until 1938.

It was the same year she married her husband Frederick at St Margaret’s Church in the town.

Two years later her daughter Muriel was born.

Muriel Barker from Ipswich is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Picture: GREGG BROWN.Muriel Barker from Ipswich is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

During the war the family sheltered two boys who had been evacuated from Ilford and later moved to Southern Eastern Senior Boys School, in Landseer Road, in 1947 to take up a joint caretaking job.

The couple worked there until 1978 when they retired to Kesgrave.

Frederick passed away in October 1987.

Mrs Barker lived independently until the age of 102 before moving in with her daughter after having a stroke.

Muriel Barker from Ipswich is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Pictured here with Granddaughter Julia Strutt. Picture: GREGG BROWN.Muriel Barker from Ipswich is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Pictured here with Granddaughter Julia Strutt. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

A great lover of animals, Mrs Barker had a pet rat during childhood and looked after a pet monkey called Jacky from 1948 to 1977 after her friend was not allowed to keep it.

On Sunday her extended family, which includes two granddaughters, three great granddaughters and two great-great grandsons, will be taking her out for a special birthday meal at the Railway Inn in Westerfield.

Mrs Barker’s granddaughter Julia Strutt said: “She is a very strong willed woman.

“She has always got words of wisdom for you.

“She has experienced a lot through her life,

“Every scenario you could experience she has been through.

“But she likes a laugh - she can be very funny at times and likes having a joke.”

Mrs Barker said the key to a long life was not to worry about anything and to always try to be happy.

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