Dunmow care home resident remembers childhood as she turns 107

PUBLISHED: 08:34 18 February 2019

Charlotte was born in 1912 and grew up in east London. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Charlotte was born in 1912 and grew up in east London. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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How does someone live to 107-years-of-age? Is there a special diet or secret potion which prolongs life?

Charlotte as a younger woman. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDCharlotte as a younger woman. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

No, it is all down to genes, apparently. At least, that is, the case for Dunmow care home resident Charlotte Hirst, her daughter believes.

Great-grandmother Charlotte, who lives in Redbond Lodge care home, was born on January 22, 1912.

Charlotte grew up in London where her mother washed other people’s clothes to keep the family “surviving” whilst her father was in France during the First World War, daughter, Moya Rice, describes.

Recalling her childhood in Bow, East London, Charlotte recalled: “There was a terrible explosion in Silvertown not too far from Bow. People said it was a munitions factory that blew up, but of course everything was kept quiet so really nobody knew how many lives were lost. It was so bad. The shock made me unable to talk for a whole day. I was about five-years-old.”

Charlotte blowing out her birthday candles for her 107th birthday. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDCharlotte blowing out her birthday candles for her 107th birthday. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

She added: “About that time one of the first motorcycles came on the streets which frightened all us children.”

Cart-pulling horses would drink from troughs in the market place, Charlotte described, adding: “One day when I was out with my dad and he stopped a runaway horse and cart but nobody said how brave he was.”

Recollecting her grandmother’s “lavish” funeral, Charlotte says: “Afterwards mum took me, winter or summer, every day to see the grave and they all went every Sunday. It was quite a day’s visit for most people. Everybody cared, not like today, where nobody cares.”

Treats included a penny bus ride to Stratford to see Father Christmas and shrimps for tea.

Charlotte turned 107 on January 22. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDCharlotte turned 107 on January 22. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Her mother’s age is “amazing”, Moya, 84, told the Broadcast.

“I think it is the genes... she never ate much. Her mother used to say she would have half a grapefruit and then go off to work, and not eat anything all day,” Moya explained, adding, “My grandmother died at 79-years-old but she also had two aunts who were both in their nineties when they died.”

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