A woman who moved to Hemel Hempstead during its post-war inception has marked her 106th birthday in the town.
Edna Lucas celebrated with family and friends at Cherry Orchard’s High View Lodge – where she has lived since the age of 102 – and is a contender for the borough’s oldest person.
Born in Yorkshire on March 14, 1909, Edna was a true war baby whose older brother Teddy was called up to fight in the First World War, and the primary school she was due to attend was commandeered to accommodate wounded servicemen, forcing girls to share premises with the local boys’ school.
Later in life, during the Second World War, she was drafted into war work and became a booking clerk for the underground.
Here, she made friends with the ‘fluffers’ who cleaned the trains and tunnels at night, forming a close community who always looked out for each other, especially
when the war was at its most fierce. Sadly, some of the workers were victims to the bombings of London.
Edna continues to amaze many people who live, work and visit the home with how well she is doing.High View Lodge
Life had changed for Edna after her father died in a road in accident when she was around 20, which prompted her move into the world of work to help support her mother and the household.
While Edna had wishes to go into hotel management, her mother encouraged her into the office at her father’s firm until she became pregnant while unmarried, and moved with her mother and Teddy to Newcastle.
She continued to work while her mother looked after Edna’s daughter, Margaret.
It was while working in London due to the war that Edna met Eric, described as a gentle and quiet man with a sense of fun, who was devoted to Edna. They married in 1945 and their son Peter was born the following year.
Eric worked for the civil service and was given the choice of Hemel Hempstead or Northampton for relocation – the pair chose Hemel Hempstead and moved in the 1950s. Peter had just started secondary school and Margaret was just about to complete her nurse training when they moved to Warners End.
Once settled, Edna found a job as a manageress of the civil service canteen in Albion Court in the town centre.
Eric sadly passed away following a short illness in 1973, and she moved into the Highview care home in 2011 when son Peter awaited an operation – though tragically he too died.
Edna, who loved to travel and enjoyed holidays to Spain and Switzerland with her husband and children, is described by family as a sociable easy going person who would always speak her mind – and continues to be like this today.
A spokesman for High View Lodge said: “Edna continues to amaze many people who live, work and visit the home with how well she is doing.
“Her 106th birthday party went off superbly with her daughter attending and the opening of the Queen’s card.
“Edna blew out her candles on her cake, admitting there were not 106, just three. She admired all her visitors from young children to old friends and neighbours – chatting away and being the centre of attention throughout the day.”
But just what is golden oldie Edna’s secret to a long and prosperous life? Well, she’s keeping that one under her hat.
> Last month, the Gazette reported on Emily Ada Beebe from Hemel Hempstead who turned 105, stating she may be the oldest person in Dacorum. The mantle has been taken up by Edna, but do you know anyone older? Email firstname.lastname@example.org if so.