BORN six weeks before the sinking of the Titanic, Gladys Older remembers the Queen as a young girl.
Last week she celebrated her 100th birthday at Bannow Retirement Home, St Leonards, surrounded by around 40 family members, writes Hannah Collisson.
Once a keen tennis player and horse rider, and sharp Scrabble player, Mrs Older remained active until late in life, and as a landlady of several properties, was still going out to collect rent into her early eighties.
Born on March 7, 1912, Mrs Older grew up on a farm in Farenam, Hampshire, and during the Second World War worked as a secretary to three Lords, including Lord Cornwallis.
Stepson Michael Older said she remembered that time in her life fondly. He recalls meeting her for the first time in 1969, and being taken aback by the sight of her Triumph Herald sports car when he went to visit his father Jim Older. “I came down to visit him, and she came scorching along the drive.
“I thought ‘Wow, who is this lady?’ I was mightily impressed.”
Mrs Older moved to the Hastings area in the 1960s and lived in Boscobel Road North, St Leonards for 40 years.
She did not have children of her own, but was married twice and has step-children and step-grandchildren. Her husband Jim died in 1996.
Michael Older said that her upbringing on a farm may have something to do with her longevity.
He added that his stepmother had enjoyed her birthday celebrations. “She had a few tears in her eyes,” he said. “It was a wonderful day.”