Norfolk’s oldest carer Alice Syzling celebrates her 100th birthday at Croxton

A pensioner, believed to be Norfolk's oldest carer, celebrated her 100th birthday by staging a big party in her home village at the weekend.

Alice Syzling was born in Croxton on February 17 1912 and has lived in the village near Thetford for the whole of her life.

The centenarian, who was born before the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic and when George V was on the throne, marked the milestone birthday by inviting all her family and friends to a party at Croxton Village Hall on Saturday.

Mrs Syzling, who has been full-time carer for her 98-year-old sister Iris Squires for the last two years, said hard work and a positive outlook was the key to a long life.

More than 100 family members from as far afield as Kent and friends from Croxton joined her for her party, which included the cutting of a large birthday cake.

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Mrs Syzling, one of 12 children, was born Alice Ladell and married her husband Harry Syzling, at the age of 21 at Croxton Parish Church. The couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary before his death 30 years ago.

For many years, she worked as a charge hand at the former Smedley's canning factory in Thetford where she was used to working 12 hour days.

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Up until three weeks ago, when she broke her hip, she had never spent a night in hospital.

Mrs Syzling, who is a keen gardener and a regular caller to BBC Radio Norfolk phone-ins, said it was 'wonderful' to have so many people at her party.

'This was just what I wanted and I wanted the village people here because I was born here. I have never known of any other 100-year-olds in Croxton. I thought everyone could meet each other and I have so many relatives I do not know half of them.'

And the secret to a long life?

'Hard work. People sit around too much these days and we never had time to sit about.'

She added that she 'adored' her younger sister Iris.

'We are both in a home now, but we look after each other and she relies on me,' she said.

Mrs Syzling asked for donations to be made to All Saints Church in Croxton rather than people buying birthday presents.

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