Worlingham 103 year old moves out of sheltered housing

Moving can be a stressful upheaval at the best of times.

Packing up all your belongings and setting up somewhere else is an emotional journey at any age.

But yesterday really was the end of an era for a sheltered housing complex – as a 103 year old took the unusual step of leaving it behind to move back in with her family.

Edna Clarke was one of the first ever residents at Samford Court at Worlingham, near Beccles, when the houses were first built in 1995.

But after seeing many move to the housing complex from living alone or with their family, she took the opposite step as she moved back to her old house to live with her daughter Muriel, 71, and son-in-law Stanley, 76.

Until recently, Mrs Clarke had continued to cook and clean for herself in her flat, but the straight-talking great-grandmother felt it was the right time to move.

'I have been ill lately and thought it was about time I went,' she said.

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'I've been here a long while, for 27 years, and now I'm going back to my own home.'

Mrs Clarke said she had enjoyed her time living at the court but had been sad to see the passing of many friends.

'They've all gone and left me all behind,' she said.

Trevor Shepherd, scheme manager, said he'd never seen anything like it and added that she had been a very popular resident.

He said: 'She is an inspiration for everyone. If you're having a bad day you come and see Edna, she'll cheer you up.

'Everybody from the whole scheme knows her and how she is and how outspoken she is. She's doesn't mince her words, she says it how it is.'

Edna Rosetta Emilia Cooper was raised in Carlton Colville and has never moved away from the region.

She married Freddie William Clarke, who was a fisherman, and had five boys and three girls. Together they lived in Barnby and Kirkley Gardens in Lowestoft, before her husband died in 1982.

Today, she has four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, and her family have always remained close to her.

Last Saturday, Mrs Clarke celebrated her 103rd birthday quietly, having marked her 80th, 90th and 100th birthdays with parties.

When she celebrated her 102nd birthday, she attributed her long life down to a helping others attitude.

'I tell them what I think, whether it offends or pleases. I've been like this all my life,' she said. She added: 'I have got so many memories. I really can't ask for much more, I have enjoyed my life to the full.'

She also enjoys the occasional glass of sherry or Bailey's cream and reads the EDP everyday.

richard.wood@archant.co.uk

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