Books still surround Robin after 101 years

Doris 'Robin' Robinson celebrated her 101st birthday at Bilney Hall Care Home in East Bilney. Picture: Matthew Usher. Doris 'Robin' Robinson celebrated her 101st birthday at Bilney Hall Care Home in East Bilney. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Sunday, December 16, 2012
10:22 PM

She is a big fan of crime fiction but Doris Robinson, who celebrated her 101st birthday yesterday, said it was still a mystery as to how she had lived for so long.

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“Maybe it’s because I never married,” joked the retired teacher, who lives at Bilney Hall care home, in East Bilney, near Dereham.

The third of six sisters Doris, who is also known as Robin, grew up near Mileham and then moved to the nearby village of Tittleshall. It was when she was living in Dereham that she was “snaffled” by an aunt, Eva Daws, to go and live with her. “My uncle was very rarely home as it was the war and he was working late at night repairing threshing machines,” she said. “So my aunt wanted the company. Nobody asked me what I wanted but you used to do that with children in years gone by. But we got on very well and she was very good to me. I don’t think I would have found my career if it wasn’t for her.”

Aunt Eva, a headmistress, encouraged Doris into teaching and after a spell as a student teacher in Norfolk she went to London to gain her qualifications. She got her first job in Ealing and found some digs.

“They were lonely digs to start with,” she said. “But I made friends with a girl called Mary and we got on well so we decided to rent a house together. We had the ground floor of this big house in Enfield, there was a family above us and a single woman on the top floor.”

Doris taught English at a secondary school, and a little bit of geography for a while, and made lots of friends as well as enjoying spending time with her ever-growing family of nephews and nieces who were regular visitors.

After she and Mary retired they decided to move into a home for retired teachers in Elstree until Mary’s death and then she moved to a home in Cromer “to be nearer people I knew”.

She moved to Bilney Hall in 2009 where she enjoys watching the birds and squirrels from her window - and is still an avid reader.

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