Marjorie celebrates 101st birthday after returning to her family roots in Market Weston

Marjorie Brand celebrated her 101 birthday''Pictured: Marjorie and her family: Gerry Smith, Mandi Wright, Peter Brand (son), Pat Jones and David Jones ANL-150927-190346009
Marjorie Brand celebrated her 101 birthday''Pictured: Marjorie and her family: Gerry Smith, Mandi Wright, Peter Brand (son), Pat Jones and David Jones ANL-150927-190346009

A grandmother who moved back to her home village to live in her dad’s former workshop has celebrated her 101st birthday - after missing out on her centenary celebrations last year.

A ‘shadow was cast’ over Marjorie Brand’s 100th birthday when her youngest sister Pam Smith died a week before the celebrations.

Marjorie Brand celebrated her 101 birthday''Pictured: Marjorie's father in the barn were she now lives ANL-150927-190418009

Marjorie Brand celebrated her 101 birthday''Pictured: Marjorie's father in the barn were she now lives ANL-150927-190418009

This weekend though she enjoyed her ‘best birthday ever’ surrounded by family, friends and neighbours with her brother-in-law Gerry Smith baking a wealth of treats.

Mrs Brand, who lived independently until she was 100, has moved in with Mr Smith at Bert’s Barn, in Market Weston - named after her dad as it used to be his workshop.

The 101-year-old puts her longevity down to ‘good luck’.

Mr Smith said: “She’s just like her mother Kathleen - she’s so easy going, kind and a great joy to be with.”

Originally from Market Weston, Mrs Brand was born at Church Farm, in Hopton. Her mum was staying there with her parents while Mrs Brand’s dad served in the First World War.

Her first ever memory was her dad returning home from the Great War.

Mr Smith, 80, said: “She can distinctly remember it because she was in bed and when he arrived home it was 10pm.

“They woke her, brought her downstairs and she can remember laying her face on his rough uniform.

“Her dad had been badly gassed in the war and he later died of his injuries.”

Her family lived in Primrose Cottage in the village and her dad worked as a carpenter/joiner and village undertaker. Mr Smith said: “She was a very good seamstress and wanted to go into that work but her dad was so ill because he had been badly gassed.”

Money was short so she went into domestic service at Riddlesworth Hall and worked for Sir Henry Croft, who was an MP.

She married her husband Geoff and they settled in Troston. They had two children - Yvonne, who died aged 48 and Peter, who lives in Thetford.

She also has three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Her husband died aged 90 and she lived independently in Barnham until she was 100 before moving back to her home village to be with her relatives.

Her brother-in-law Mr Smith was a country music promoter for 35 years and put on shows in theatres across East Anglia.

On her 101st, he said: “We had a marvellous day. One of the things to try to help myself get over losing my wife was that I started baking. We did a whole load of baking and neighbours and friends came in. She said it was the ‘best birthday I’ve ever had’.”