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Woman who cared for WWII servicemen to mark 100th birthday

Irene Winifred Vincent, who lives in Manor House care home near North Walsham, is about to mark her 100th birthday. Picture: Supplied by the family

Irene Winifred Vincent, who lives in Manor House care home near North Walsham, is about to mark her 100th birthday. Picture: Supplied by the family

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A north Norfolk woman who cared for injured servicemen during the Second World War is about to reach an impressive milestone - her 100th birthday.

Irene Winifred Vincent marks her century on August 5, and will celebrate where she lives at the Manor House care home, near North Walsham.

Son, Barry Vincent, said although family would not be able to visit her as they would have liked due to the pandemic, the care home’s staff were going to make sure it was a memorable day.

Barry said: “Because of the present lockdown the family were unable to celebrate with her as they would have liked to, but the team at the Manor are doing their best to make it a special day for her.

“We believe there will be hair dos and nail painting, and also champagne and a cake will be served.”

Mrs Vincent grew up in Birmingham, as the country was going through difficult times recovering from the First World War. When she was a girl, she moved home with her parents several times, and after attending school, got her first job at the age of 14 at Cadbury Bros in Bournville.

She met her future husband Ernest - known as Vin - when she was 15 and they got engaged when she was 16.

Barry said: “He was then called up as the Second World War began and went into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

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“He served in France and North Africa. He was part of the Eight Army, who were the famous Desert Rats, where he was mentioned in dispatches.”

Mrs Vincent has joined the Red Cross, and was looking after injured servicemen as well as serving as a fire watcher in Birmingham.

The couple got married in 1944 when Vin was home on leave - a double wedding with Mrs Vincent’s sister. Barry Vincent was born in 1946.

He said: “Irene’s hobbies were knitting and she made many a clown and teddy for the charity stalls.

“She also started a choir called the Tamworth Ladies choir and they travelled all over Germany singing on the river boats, and also in their home city of Birmingham.”

The couple moved to Mundesley in their 80s to be near Barry and his wife Peggy, and after Vin died, she moved into Barry and Peggy’s annexe in Trunch.

She lived there for 10 years before moving to the Manor House, where she still enjoys her lifelong hobby of gardening.

Mrs Vincent has two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Barry said although they could not visit, they wanted her to have a wonderful birthday. He said: “We do hope she gets her telegram from the Queen. Her family and all her friends wish her a very healthy and happy 100th Birthday, with more yet to come.”


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