Ena Fennell from Watton celebrates her 104th birthday and reveals the secret to a long life

PUBLISHED: 11:27 08 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:04 08 July 2017

Ena Fennell is celebrating her 104th birthday. Picture: Ian Burt

Ena Fennell is celebrating her 104th birthday. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

The secret to a long life is to work hard, said one woman who is celebrating her 104th birthday this week.

Ena Fennell is celebrating her 104th birthday. Picture: Ian BurtEna Fennell is celebrating her 104th birthday. Picture: Ian Burt

Ena Fenell was born the same year suffragette Emily Davison threw herself under the King’s horse in protest.

She has lived through two world wars and seen 25 prime ministers in Downing Street but has only seen England win the world cup once.

Born on July 8, 1913, in South Lopham, Mrs Fennell later moved to Long Stratton where she worked as a parlour maid in a country house.

Mrs Fennell married her husband, Don Fennell, in 1929 and they went on to have three children Mireen Jones, Eileen Page and Colin Fennell.

She ran Fennell’s Butchers in the High Street in Watton with her husband until 1990, and they lived and made their home behind the store.

Mrs Fennell said: “Me and my husband would be up at 6.30am and would be running up the stairs to go to bed at 10pm but we were happy.”

Daughter Mireen Jones, who is now retired, said her father died aged 62 and her mother stayed widowed a long time and never remarried.

Mrs Jones said: “She kept herself busy but she missed him, they had been a team. She has never been with anybody else in her life.”

She said her mother worked hard all her life, running Fennell’s Butchers for 40 years. She needed gentle persuasion from the family to retire at 75.

Speaking on Mrs Fennell’s younger days, Mrs Jones said: “She has always been very independent, which I think at the time was quite unusual for women, they weren’t allowed to work or do the things she did.

“She spent three years on her own bringing me up while my father was away at war, that must have been quite a feat.

“She always wanted to achieve and always wanted to do better, most people do I think.

“She has been a wonderful mother, we are just very blessed to still have her with us.”

An avid supporter of Norwich City, Mrs Fennell listens to the games every Saturday afternoon on her radio.

She lived in Watton until she was 100, then moved to Laburnum Grove Housing in Thetford in 2014.

Mrs Fennell will be celebrating her 104th birthday at Laburnum Grove with afternoon tea.

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