Dancing has played a big part in Alice Hollins’ life – and she still likes to take a turn on the dance floor at the age of 100.
The centenarian will mark her special birthday with a family party at The Aldwick on Saturday.
She was born to Charlie and Jenny Weller on March 11, 1916, in Camberwell, south London. Her family came from Bermondsey and she was brought up in Old Kent Road, the youngest of five children. She had three sisters, who all lived into their 90s, and one brother.
“I wasn’t very good at school, I was always in the back row,” she said, smiling. “The only certificate I got was in RE for scripture.”
When she left school, she made cardboard boxes then became a tobacco stripper.
“It was good money,” she recalled. “You had a big leaf and a little knife and had to strip the leaf. Then we had to throw the nicotine on it. It really brought out the smell, it was horrible.”
During the Second World War, she worked on aircraft wings and still has a scar on her forehead from when colleagues had to rescue her from the equipment.
She went on to work for the NHS in a number of roles.
Alice met William Hollins at a Saturday night dance and they married in Colliers Wood in February 1941.
Jackie, the eldest of their two children, was born under the bed during an air raid and she and brother Bill were brought up in Colliers Wood.
Alice later moved to north Cheam, in Surrey, and then to Aldwick Felds, Aldwick, about 11 years ago, when Jackie and her husband Alan moved to Bognor Regis.
She has been at Autumn Lodge, where Alan’s 100-year-old mother also lives, in Aldwick Road, since January.
Jackie said: “She takes part in all the activities, even the gardening club. She has never done gardening in her entire life but she is quite good, apparently.
“She has always loved dancing. She and Dad were good dancers. She danced at the Royal Albert Hall when she was young and still loves watching ballet.”
Alice has five grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 – Make our website your homepage at www.bognor.co.uk
2 – Like our Facebook pages at Bognor Regis Observer Facebook
3 – Follow us on Twitter at @BogObserver
4 – Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
The Bognor Regis Observer – always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.