Wife tells Mundesley 100-year-old ‘You made it!’

Mundesley centenarian Edward Reading with wife of 72 years, Irene. Photo: Karen Bethell

Mundesley centenarian Edward Reading with wife of 72 years, Irene. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

When Mundesley centenarian Edward Reading reached his 100-year milestone, his wife of 72 years wanted to be the first to congratulate him.

'I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I got up at 7 o'clock and said, 'You made it!',' Mrs Reading explained.

Mr Reading, whose father was a barrow boy at London's Covent Garden market, was born in Kilburn.

He left school at 14 to become a woodwork machinist and, aged 20, met future wife Irene at a church fete.

'We had been living in the next street for years and had never met, but, once we did, that was it,' Mrs Reading, 93, said.

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The pair were married in Hampstead at the height of the war in 1941 and, with Mr Reading unable to join up because of a hereditary medical condition, they both went to work in factories manufacturing military equipment.

While Irene concentrated looking after son John and daughter Jacqueline at Kilburn, Edward continued to work as a woodwork machinist until he retired 35 years ago.

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When Mrs Reading spent time in hospital after being taken ill last year, they decided to up sticks and move to north Norfolk, where they had enjoyed family camping holidays.

The couple, who live at Clarence House nursing home in Seaview Road, Mundesley, marked Mr Reading's 100th birthday on October 1st with a party organised by home staff for 22 family and friends.

Guests, who included four grandchildren and half a dozen great-grandchildren, were treated to champagne, music and a slice of birthday cake baked by grand-daughter Hazel, who lives in Norwich.

Mrs Reading put her husband's longevity down to a mixture of good luck, generosity and a healthy diet.

'Edward has always been very kind and he has certainly spoilt me, but he is tough; he has never had an illness in his life and I cooked three meals a day until I was over 90,' she said.

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