A CENTENARIAN, who was heavily involved in the Scouting movement for more than 30 years, was treated to a surprise party to mark her 100th birthday last Thursday (September 12).
May Davis, who lives at Ridge House, in Boscobel Road, St Leonards, said the secret was kept right until the last minute when she was helped into St John’s Church Hall and greeted by birthday banners, floral displays, sparkling lights and a round of applause.
“I had no idea there was going to be a party. I thought I was late for my dinner and then was told we were going out,” she said.
The pensioner, who has lived through two world wars, was born in Bristol in 1913.
May’s own childhood memory is of her mother being very poor and being given milk left in the bottom of churns at a dairy at the bottom of their garden in Bristol.
May’s father died in the First World War and his name is commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres in Belgium. Her husband Charles fought in the Second World War.
She has lived most of her life in St Leonards where she and her husband Charles were heavily involved in the Scouting movement for more than 30 years. May and the Cubs were in attendance when the then Princess Elizabeth came to lay a new foundation stone at St John’s Church as it was rebuilt after the war.
As well as being involved in the Scouting movement – and organising many camping trips to nearby Ireland’s Farm – May has always knitted and to this day still makes clothes for premature babies.
May’s granddaughter Carol says her childhood memories are of her grandmother, knitting and cooking and sewing. She said: “She made our school jumpers, knitted toys for Christmas, was always in the kitchen and bought me my first violin.”
May’s husband died 20 years ago but in his working life was a radiographer at the now closed Eversfield chest hospital in St Leonards.
Family members celebrating with May included her daughter-in-law Maureen, granddaughters Carol and Clare and Clare’s two children Arthur, aged 18, and Charlotte, 14.