Former Hampstead Cub Scout division leader celebrates 100th birthday
- Credit: Chris Whitehorn
A long-time Hampstead and Kilburn great-grandmother celebrated her 100th birthday with her siblings and wider family.
Doris Whitehorn was joined by her sister, Milly Bryan, 97, and brother Bill Mitchell, 95, who travelled down from Oxford, as well as by sons Ian and Chris, and other family members and friends.
Doris, who has eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, told Chris, 69, that longevity runs in the family: “I remember as a young girl seeing my great-grandmother live to over 100.
"[It's been a] hard, busy life, but it hasn’t done me any harm. Having a hard life gives you the spirit to fight for it.”
Doris was living independently until contracting Covid in January and then spending a further spell in hospital in the summer.
As a result she is now living at Lansdowne Care Centre in Cricklewood where care staff held a party for her on November 25 decorating a room and providing a cake.
"Covid restrictions meant she was unable to hold one big family party," Chris said. "Instead she was visited by a succession of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends over the course of several days, extending the celebrations."
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Pride of place among her birthday cards was the greeting from the Queen.
"She was most pleased and surprised to have a visit from her brother and sister. That meant more to her than anything as she'd not seen them for two years," Chris said.
Doris’s childhood years were divided between Oxfordshire and Crouch End.
She first moved to Hampstead just after the Second World War, and lived in East Heath Road and then Branch Hill with her late husband Bert before moving to Kilburn in 1957.
The great-grandmother ran the former 9th Hampstead Cub Scout Park as well as helping with district Scouting activities well in to her 90s.
"Her faith is central to her life and until the pandemic struck last year, she had been a regular member of the congregation at St Luke’s in Kidderpore Avenue since the 1950s," Chris said.
Friends from St Luke’s were among the many who joined her for her celebrations on November 25 and the subsequent days.
Chris said she is "proudest of her grandchildren and great grandchildren". “Seeing them grow up is wonderful,” she told her son.