Crawley woman celebrates 100th birthday

Florence Knight celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends
Florence Knight celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends

An all-day party marked the 100th birthday of a ‘lovely lady’.

Florence Knight celebrated the milestone surrounded by family and friends at Burleys Wood Care Home on Friday, August 15.

“Her family had arranged for friends she hadn’t seen for years to be there,” said Dee Jewell, activities co-ordinator at the home, in Furnace Drive, Crawley.

“There was the best man from her wedding, old neighbours and family from all over the place. The home was packed out, it was just a party all day.”

As well as flowers and a host of presents, Florence also received the traditional card from the Queen.

“She was thrilled with it, she just looked at it and said ‘Is that me?’. She does actually look quite a lot like her,” said Dee.

Carers at Burleys Wood are so fond of Florence they wanted to make her party extra special.

“Normally I would organise a party like this but the carers took a lot of responsibilty for this one because she is 100 and she is very special to the girls that care for her,” said Dee.

“They went and got all the decorations and bought her a beautiful bracelet as a present.”

Florence was born on August 15, 1914, at Locks Farm, Malthouse Lane, Burgess Hill.

She was one of ten children with six brothers and three sisters.

The family moved to Clayton and a few years later they had new neighbours – the Edwards with their two sons and two daughters.

The oldest son, Bill, was in the Royal Tanks Corps and it wasn’t long before Bill and Florence started walking out together.

The couple were married in Clayton Church on September 28, 1935, and made their home in Polegate. On August 2, 1937, their only son Desmond was born.

When war broke out in 1939 Bill was called up and served until the end of the war. Florence was very ill and eventually moved back to Hassocks until his return home.

After the war, they moved back to Polegate until 1954 when they moved to Burgess Hill.

Bill passed away, aged 81, in 1986. Florence continued to live on her own until she broke her arm in a fall when she was 96 years old.

She lived with her son and daughter-in-law until moving to Burleys Wood in 2012.

Speaking about Florence, Dee said: “She is so lovely, she is the loveliest lady and nothing is ever a problem for her. She is the kindest, nicest lady.

“Before the party she said she was worried about doing something wrong and I said ‘Why?’. She said ‘Because they said we’re going to have a right old knees up and I can’t get my knees up.’.”

Jane Harris, relationship manager for Shaw healthcare, which runs the home, said: “Flo has settled in well to life at Burleys Wood, she is a very private lady who likes to keep up with world news, she loves a chat with carers about news in the paper, she also enjoys listening to music.

“Flo loves to look nice and always wants her hair doing by the visiting hairdresser.”