'I can't wait to hug my family' - Wartime nurse's 100th birthday wish

Elieen Leah, a war time nurse, who lives at Sydney House in Stalham has turned 100.

Elieen Leah, served as a nurse in the army during the Second World War, and has celebrated her 100th birthday. - Credit: NorseCare

A nurse who served in the army during the Second World War has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Eileen Leah, who is a resident at Sydney House care home in Stalham, celebrated her birthday on March 1. 

Mrs Leah said the last 12 months have been some of the "hardest of her life" due to the coronavirus pandemic and is looking forward to hugging her family, including her two daughters, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

She said: “I didn’t think I would get to this age because of various aches and pains through the years, but here I am and I’m very happy about it with my wonderful family. Everyone gave me an excellent day.

"They asked me what I’d like and I asked for a tea party and that’s what I got – with teapots, cake stands, cups and saucers – the table was delightful. I want to thank everyone for making it special, it was a lovely, kind thing to do. Also, the cake was beautiful."

 Elieen Leah who lives at Sydney House Care Home in Stalham has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Elieen Leah who lives at Sydney House Care Home in Stalham has celebrated her 100th birthday. - Credit: NorseCare


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Born in London on March 1 1921, Mrs Leah would spend her summers at a cottage with her family in Witton, near North Walsham, which is where she met her future husband Ron, who was camping with friends in Walcott. 

Elieen Leah served as a nurse in the army during the Second World War. 

Elieen Leah served as a nurse in the army during the Second World War. - Credit: NorseCare

During the Second World War, the couple served in the army, marrying in March 1943. Four months later Ron was posted to Sicily in Italy and would not see his wife or first child for three-and-a-half years as after his deployment the couple found they were expecting their first child.

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Mrs Leah moved back to Fulham, and had to be evacuated to Norfolk after the home was damaged by bombs. She and her six-week old daughter moved to the cottage in Witton until Ron was demobbed from the army in November 1946 and moved to Norwich.

Eileen Leah served as a nurse in the army during the Second World War and has turned 100.

Eileen Leah served as a nurse in the army during the Second World War and has turned 100. - Credit: NorseCare

Caring Eileen raised her two daughters Jacqueline and Sharon and nursed Ron for eight years after he suffered a stroke. 

Mr Leah died in 1993, shortly after the couple's golden wedding anniversary.

Her daughters were able able to celebrate with their mum through a socially distanced window visit singing her favourite songs, before Mrs Leah enjoyed a tea party in the afternoon.

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