Ann, 100, celebrates her centenary in style ... and a regular walk in Horsham Park

A ‘good start in life’ is the secret to living to a ripe old age.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 4:27 pm

That’s according to Horsham centenarian Ann Williamson who celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday (Sunday).

“Life was very simple for people born in the 1920s and 30s,” said Ann. “There were no cars, then came the war and we were rationed.

“It was a good start. It was simple but life has changed a lot since then.”

Ann Williamson celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing. “When I was a child I got diptheria. People died from it but I got over it, whether that gave me a bit of strength I just don’t know.”

Ann was born in Southport, Lancashire, on July 18 1921 but moved to Bristol in 1940 after meeting and marrying her husband Sid who worked as an engine designer for Concorde.

Ann spent her early married life caring for her two children Carole and John. But when they flew the nest and went to university, Ann decided that she would follow.

In her 40s, she studied French, Geography and Politics and completed a degree at Bristol University.

Ann Williamson as a young woman

She also learnt Spanish and went on to use her languages to the full in discussion groups and on frequent holidays to Spain.

She also made use of her French while working as a secretary on the Anglo-French Concorde project.

But Ann was also keen on keeping fit and took part in regular lengthy swimming sessions and enjoyed playing tennis.

In 1988, after nearly 50 years in Bristol, Ann and husband Sid returned to live in Southport.

Sid died 11 years later, and Ann moved to Horsham in 2006.

Although she was by then in her 80s, Ann began taking part in regular ‘health walks’ organised by Horsham District Council - and has been enjoying them ever since.

Even now, at the age of 100, Ann joins other walkers for regular weekly walks in Horsham Park.

“I don’t go so far now,” said Ann. “I don’t go all the way round any longer.”

Walk leader Emmy Goode said: “She’s a very active and dedicated walker with us. She just grabs life and enjoys it.

“I wish we could all be like that. We’re all in awe of her.”

Walking group members are now planning to hold a birthday lunch for Ann on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, her family celebrated in style with a special lunch at Horsham’s Hornbrook Inn on Sunday.

“It was wonderful,” said Ann.