Sprightly centenarian Jane Cornhill, who has just celebrated her 100th birthday, says her first childhood memory is of a strange man in her home.
But that man wasn’t a burglar or Santa Claus. It was her own father! Jane said she slowly became aware that Dad was back home from the trenches in France having been gassed during the First World War.
He would never regain his health so Jane and her 14 siblings had a hard life growing up in Bethnal Green in the East End of London.
Yet she has lived to a grand old age and c elebrated reaching three figures with family, staff and other residents at Greenacre Care Home in Brewers Hill Road, Dunstable.
She was born Jane Elizabeth Malchar on March 13, 1914, but her party was held on Friday (March 14).
As well as receiving a card from The Queen, Jane had a spectacular birthday cake with 100 candles on it, which had to be moved away from the home’s smoke alarm when they were lit. Jane met her husband, Jim, a bricklayer, in 1947 and they brought up three children in North London. When Jim died in 1987, she settled in Dunstable to be near to her daughter at The Crest. She moved to Greenacre six years ago.
Jane celebrated her birthday with her three children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A genealogy chart going back to 1650 shows her origin, on her father’s side, as French Huguenots who had emigrated to escape persecution.