Bognor Regis women, aged 100 and 108, wish each other happy birthday

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Two centenarians celebrated their birthdays on the same day in a Bognor Regis home.

The rare coincidence saw Mabel Stannard confirm her likely status as the oldest person in West Sussex by reaching 108.

Her fellow resident at the Greenways Methodist Home for the Aged, Joan Newton, joined her in reaching a three-figured age with her 100th birthday.

Their longevity has continued a tradition at the home in Hawthorn Road for residents who live past the personal milestone.

Mrs Stannard is probably the oldest person the town has known. She is on her fifth telegram of congratulations from the Queen.

She was the centre of attention at a party attended by many of her relatives from her family of four children, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

There was food and champagne as well as a cake with a single large candle organised by the home’s social care facilitator, Kay Vevirs.

Mrs Stannard’s youngest son, Richard Stannard, said: “It’s marvellous that she’s 108. She was born three years after the death of Queen Victoria.

“She realises her age and her memory comes and goes.

“Her health is good overall for her age. She could go on and on. There’s no stopping her.”

Mrs Stannard has lived in the home for nearly two years after she moved from West Meads.

She was born in Fulham, London, and went to school in Chelsea. Her family moved to Greenford in Middlesex and then to West Meads 44 years ago.

Her younger days saw Mabel work in an office in the motor industry for ten years before she married.

Her husband died about a year after they arrived in West Meads.

Mrs Newton has been a resident of Greenways for 12 years. Her son, Gordon Newton, said: “My mother has always lived a steady life and worked hard looking after her family.

“She still takes a great interest in people – her family, friends and the other residents here.

“She has always had a strong faith in God which gives her a sense of peace and contentment.”

He said his mother was often to be found enjoying her favourite puzzles and crosswords as well watching sport on TV.

“She played quite a bit of cricket at school. She went to a girls’ grammar school and that was one of their sports. She was a good bowler.”

Mrs Newton was born in Tunbridge Wells and lived there until she was in her 40s.

Her family moved to Bosham where she stayed until she switched to Greenways.

She has one son, four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.