Double celebration for friendly centenarians

Doreen Marsh and Greta Branston,  celebrate thier 100th birthdays. ''FL; Doreen Marsh, Mayor Tim Marks, Greta Branston,
Doreen Marsh and Greta Branston, celebrate thier 100th birthdays. ''FL; Doreen Marsh, Mayor Tim Marks, Greta Branston,

TWO centenarians with birthdays less than two weeks apart enjoyed a joint party this week at the care home where they live.

Greta Branston turned 100 on Saturday, just 10 days after fellow resident Doreen Marsh.

And on Monday, following private functions with their families, the pair enjoyed a party hosted by staff at The Martins, in Vinefields, Bury St Edmunds, which Greta moved to in July 2008, followed by Doreen, who arrived in December last year.

“We hope that having people reach that sort of age means we’re doing something right,” said home manager Simon Manning, adding that it was a ‘pleasure’ working with both women.

“I think it’s in the genes, my father lived to a great age,” said Greta.”

Born in Edinburgh, the daughter of a Church of Scotland minister, Greta studied modern languages at university.

She can speak French and is fluent in German, having also studied for a time in Munich.

When the war came, Greta went into Colonial Service and was responsible for inspecting mission schools to assess their suitability for government grants.

She lived in Uganda and travelled extensively, meeting her late husband, who she wed in Uganda, while in Cairo.

Widowed around 20 years ago, Greta moved to Bury to be closer to her son, Nicholas, and lived in Mustow Street before The Martins.

She has another son, Giles, who lives in Switzerland but visited her on her birthday, and a step-daughter, Priscilla, who until recently lived in Australia.

Doreen, a mother-of-two, lived most of her life in Hampshire and up until last year, when she had a stroke, she had continued to live independently.

She enjoys ballroom and formation dancing and could not resist the urge to dance at Monday’s party.

“I have had a nice day,” she told her daughter Priscilla.