Family reunion for 100th birthday celebration

Alice Wallis with members of her family
Alice Wallis with members of her family

AT one hundred years old, Alice Wallis still reads a newspaper every day and doesn’t even use glasses.

According to her daughter Rita Sullivan, one of the secrets of Alice’s long life was drinking half a pint of Guinness every day from a very early age. She only stopped a few years ago after a stay in hospital.

Five generations of the family gathered at the Bannantyne Spa Hotel last Wednesday (August 10) for her 100th birthday celebrations.

The event, organised by her two daughters, Rita, 80, and Beryl Hale, 70, saw 36 family members come together to see Alice open her card from the Queen, including two of her great great grandchildren.

Alice, who divorced her husband in the 1960s and never remarried, had lived in London all her life, moving to Hastings three years ago to be closer to her daughter Rita, after a bad fall, which left her wheelchair-bound.

Until this time, she lived a very active life, starting work aged just 14. During the Second World War, Alice worked in a munitions factory, and then ran a haberdashery in Deptford, Rita’s Wool Shop, until 1971, when decimalisation was brought in.

Rita said: “It’s amazing the things that she can remember. She remembers horses being driven down the streets of London.”