A ‘delightfully difficult’ Horsham lady celebrated her 102nd birthday at home with family and friends on Tuesday (November 12).
“It makes me feel old!” said Winifred ‘May’ Turner, of Treadcroft Drive, who marked her milestone with a friend of more than 50 years and her youngest daughter, who has been taking care of her for 15 years.
“I’ve been well looked after,” she continued, giving credit to her daughter, Sandra Sturt, 62, as one of the reasons behind her longevity.
She explained that she came from a line of long-living relatives.
One of her aunts was ‘nearly 100’ when she died, her grandmother was 90 and her father 89.
Sandra’s godfather Dennis Ward, 79, of Trafalgar Road, Horsham, who met May and her husband, Dave, when he was 24, has since become a ‘member of the family’ and visited May for her birthday.
Dennis promised to stay loyal to the family after May’s husband died and ‘has kept his word’ said Sandra.
He used to take May out dancing - one of her life-long passions - and to Ford Market every weekend throughout the year ‘whatever the weather’.
Sandra added: “Her happiest moments were probably when he used to take her out to Rudgwick working man’s club.
“She loved it - the dancing, bingo, whist drives.”
They only stopped after May had a fall at the age of 100.
May said of the Dennis: “He’s a good lad.”
Until early this year, Sandra had been taking care of her mother and her own disabled husband on her own.
May moved into her daughter’s home in 1998, several years after husband Dave passed away.
Sandra employed a care worker last December and retired - after working for 34 years at Novartis - to focus on her mother’s care.
She said: “She can be delightfully difficult at times.
“I do everything for her - fetch and carry.”
She added: “I won’t have her put in a home - not for anybody.”
She is still her mother’s main carer, doing the most of the work throughout the day.
May’s care worker sometimes waltzes with the pet cat, in a nod to May’s love for dancing.
May was born in Tisman’s Common near Rudgwick in 1911.
She has had three daughters, 7 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.