THE whole of Hawkedon turned out when Jessica Marks celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday at the village hall.
Though she was born in Bermondsey, making her a real London East Ender, she has known the village since her family bought the cottage she now lives in as a holiday home in the 1960s.
Her daughter Stephany Horder, who lives in a neighbouring cottage, said Jessica and her husband Ted retired there in the 1970s and they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary there in 1985.
But when Ted died in 1989, Jessica returned to London because she did not drive so could not get about as she wished. She returned to the cottage in 2001.
Stephany said Jessica had a card from the Queen and pensions secretary Ian Duncan-Smith while Mayor of St Edmundsbury Christopher Spicer accepted an invitation to help the centenarian cut the cake.
Stephany added: “It was hell of a village celebration. The whole of Hawkedon had gathered together because they’ve known her for 50 years.”
Stephany is Jessica’s only child and she has one grandson, Rupert.