Former physiotherapist marks her centenary

Doreen Cleland. Pic by Adrian I Barnett Photography
Doreen Cleland. Pic by Adrian I Barnett Photography

A PENSIONER who lived through the Easter Rising in Ireland when she was just a toddler celebrated her 100th birthday last Thursday (May 24).

Doreen Cleland, who lives in the Old Town, was just three and living with her family in Ireland when the rebellion against British rule broke out in 1916.

A party was held for her at Old Hastings House where her two nephews Adrian Barnett and Hugh Cleland, together with great and great-great nephews and nieces attended. She also received a car from the Queen.

Doreen was born in Hounslow, Middlesex, the third child of Major Robert Percival Cleland MC, and Agnes Smart Cleland. She was educated in Glasgow and when her father, a serving officer the British Army, was posted to Chatham in Kent, she initially trained as a physiotherapist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Rochester. In 1940 Doreen served at the Emergency Hospital in Dunfermline. From 1942 to 1943 she was appointed to the Willesborough Hospital in Ashford, Kent.

In 1951 she returned to Hastings where her parents had retired, and took up a position at the Buchanan Hospital, and was eventually promoted to Group Superintendent Physiotherapy responsible for the Royal East Sussex, The Buchanan St Leonards, St Helens, Rye and Eversfield Hospitals. She retired in 1973, living in Guestling before moving to the Old Town.