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Lily Simpson celebrates 100th birthday in style with horse-drawn carriage ride around Thetford

Lily Simpson from Thetford celebrated her birthday with a ride around the town in a horse and carriage.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017

Lily Simpson from Thetford celebrated her birthday with a ride around the town in a horse and carriage. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

Archant 2017

When she was born 100 years ago, travelling by horse was one of the main ways of getting about.

And for her 100th birthday Lily Simpson took a step back in time with a trip around a town centre in a horse-drawn carriage, just as people used to do all those years ago.

Lily Simpson from Thetford celebrated her birthday with a ride around the town in a horse and carriage.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017 Lily Simpson from Thetford celebrated her birthday with a ride around the town in a horse and carriage. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

And for her 100th birthday Lily Simpson took a step back in time with a trip around a town centre in a horse-drawn carriage, just as people used to do all those years ago.

The resident of Alexander Court care home in Thetford, who was born on June 12 1917, was smiling and waving to shoppers on the high street as she was treated to the special ride.

Born in Maidenhead, Mrs Simpson was the youngest of 14 children - seven boys and seven girls. Despite the death of her father when she was three and her mother when she was 13, Mrs Simpson said she had a happy childhood and had a lot of “good friends”.

After starting work at her local Woolworths, Mrs Simpson worked a number of different jobs in ammunition factories in Slough in the Second World War and was a fire-watcher during The Blitz.

Lily Simpson from Thetford celebrated her birthday with a ride around the town in a horse and carriage.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017 Lily Simpson from Thetford celebrated her birthday with a ride around the town in a horse and carriage. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

“Three to four nights a week we were forced out fire-watching,” she said. “We would walk about the streets and see if there were any around. Now that was horrible. It was terrible really.”

She said she remembers walking around with a bucket of sand and heading home for the night, before a siren would go off again.

Mrs Simpson, who was raised Protestant, met her Catholic husband John at a dance and married after less than a year in 1941.

Mr Simpson, who was a butler before he fought in the war, had been given 24 hours leave to marry his wife before he was sent back to fight in the war where he spent time in Africa and India.

Lily Simpson from Thetford celebrated her birthday with a ride around the town in a horse and carriage.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017 Lily Simpson from Thetford celebrated her birthday with a ride around the town in a horse and carriage. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

Once he left the military he went back to being a butler.

The couple had a daughter Tina and a son, Adrian, who sadly died.

Mrs Simpson described her marriage as “wonderfully happy” and the couple moved to East Anglia in 1979 after they retired.

They lived in Kessingland and Oulton Broad. Mr Simpson died in 1996.

Lily Simpson from Thetford celebrated her birthday with a ride around the town in a horse and carriage.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017 Lily Simpson from Thetford celebrated her birthday with a ride around the town in a horse and carriage. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

Mrs Simpson, who moved to Thetford 10 years ago, said she credits her long life to not drinking much and eating sweets and biscuits.

The 100-year-old, who enjoys a tea with one sugar, spent her special day with family, friends and the home’s staff.

Mrs Simpson added: “The people are wonderful who work here. All of them.”

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