‘Be happy and enjoy life’ says Woodbridge great-great-grandmother as she celebrates 103rd birthday

Alice Collins is 103 this week Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

Alice Collins is 103 this week Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

Towards the beginning of her life the world Alice Collins grew up in was facing a global pandemic now as she reaches the age of 103, it is responding to another.

Alice Collins was born in 1917 Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

Alice Collins was born in 1917 Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

Alice was born in Redgrave in 1917 just months before the end of the First World War and start of the Spanish flu pandemic.

She was the youngest of five children and was born into a farming community.

Her first job after leaving school was working for a household in Woodbridge and then in London for four years.

Alice didn’t stay away from Suffolk long and married a Woodbridge mechanic, Fred Collins, at St Mary’s Church in 1940.

Alice Collins as a younger woman Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

Alice Collins as a younger woman Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant


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After he was demobbed from the army they decided to live in the town where they raised their son Michael.

Alice worked at the Melton Grange Hotel and then the Hubbard’s record shop.

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She later worked in the therapy department at the now defunct St Audry’s Hospital in Melton until she retired.

Her husband Fred died in 1982 but Alice continued to live in Woodbridge until she reached her early nineties.

Alice Collins of Highlands resident home, turns 103! Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Alice Collins of Highlands resident home, turns 103! Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

She then moved to Rushmere to be closer to her family.

As well as her son, Michael, Alice has gone on to have two granddaughters, four great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Five years ago, she moved to The Highlands Care Home in Woodbridge, where she’s been living ever since.

Alice’s son, Michael Collins said he was very grateful for the care his mother has received : “During Alice’s time in Highlands she has been shown the most inspirational, outstanding levels of love and care from all who work there.

“Especially as time has passed and she has needed much higher levels of time and attention.

“The staff that work at Highlands at every level are outstanding and have certainly become an invaluable extended family to Alice and to us.”

To mark her birthday the care home will be celebrating with a special cake for Alice.

Her family will also be coming to visit but due to restrictions will have to see her through her window.

After more than a century of life what is Alice’s secret?

“It is to be happy and to enjoy life, to take life as it comes,” said Alice.

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