September 21 2014 Latest news:
Andrew Fitchett, Reporter
Monday, July 28, 2014
She survived two world wars, losing her husband in one, and still goes to the supermarket on her own.
Surrounded by her family at home in Hanbury Court, Thetford, Sarah-Ann Moore celebrated her 100th birthday on July 23 with a telegram from the Queen and her favourite treat - a sausage roll.
The telegram was presented by Sylvia Armes, mayor of Thetford, and the sausage roll was baked to spell out “100”.
Despite her advancing years, Mrs Moore still finds time to go the supermarket on her own and also makes trips on the bus to Norwich and Bury St Edmunds.
She said there was “no secret” to her long life.
“I always eat well and like going out for a bit of fresh air. I’ve always got on with people too but I never hold back and sit silent - if I’ve got something to say, I shall say it,” she said.
Born in Southwark, South London, Mrs Moore grew up in New Cross as the second youngest of seven children.
Having worked as a machinist in a factory that made ties, she married as the Second World War broke out. Her first and only child, John, was born soon after, in 1942.
When John was just one-year-old, Mrs Moore’s husband was killed in Tunisia as he served with the 5th Battalion Royal Kent Regiment - known as The Buffs.
Mrs Moore then had a lucky escape after getting out of London as the Nazis targeted the city.
“I went on holiday during the blitz with my mother for a weekend, just to get away from it.
“When we got back, we walked down our road and the house was just on the ground. It had been a direct hit and the whole place was destroyed. It was only by chance we weren’t there,” she said.
In 1964, at the age of 50, she made a career move and took the civil service exam, before working for 10 years in the Patent Office in Victoria Street.
She retired at 60 and was later part of the War Widows Association. With widows at that time being taxed on their war pension, Mrs Moore was part of a group which met with the Prince of Wales and told him of their plight. The law was later changed after campaigning by the Prince.
She later moved to Canterbury and Rochester, before settling in Thetford seven years ago.
She was joined on Wednesday with her son, grandchildren and friends.