6 August 2014: Gladys Sharman celebrates her 100th birthday
A woman born just 2 days after the outbreak of the First World War has celebrated turning 100 years old.
Gladys Sharman, who is in the Birches Residential Home in Shefford, celebrated the milestone with a glass of champagne and her great, great granddaughter Tilley.
Surrounded by her family on the landmark occasion, she said: “I really don’t feel 100, I feel about 20 years old!”
Gladys, who was born in 1914 in Lowestoft, was the youngest of five children.
Sadly, she lost her father who was serving in the First World War, and shortly after that, her mother passed away when she was just seven years old.
She lived with her niece Gladys Albon, who was named after her, before moving to Henlow in the late 1950s.
Mrs Albon said: “Gladys always looked upon my mum as her mum, and we never ever lost touch with her.
“She is a very, very strong-willed lady and has always been really active throughout her life.”
Holding her card and telegram from the Queen, Gladys smiled at the camera, wearing her new shiny watch and was delighted with the gift.
Great granddaughter Zoe Sharman said: “She is the most loving person you could ever have. She has always been there for me.”
Gladys was keen to praise the staff at the home where she has been for the past year, and said they were the ones who were keeping her young.
Tina Blake, her former neighbour on Chiltern Road in Henlow, said: “We lived next door to each other for 17 years, but we knew each other since we went to Brownies together as children.”
Mrs Blake acted as the main carer for Gladys before the decision was made to move her into the home in Shefford.
Gladys had been on her own since the late 1960s when she tragically lost her husband, who also served in the army, to malaria.
She has also previously worked in a Henlow school as a playground assistant and a dinner lady.
Gladys, who will have her very own birthday party this Saturday, was full of life and energy on her big day, and couldn’t wait to have a piece of her specially made birthday cake.
The carers were full of praise for the 100-year-old, and said it had been her ambition in recent times to reach the big milestone.
She even asked for a bigger glass when the champagne was opened, sending everyone who was celebrating her birthday into raptures of laughter.
© Biggleswade Chronicle 6 August 2014