'Incredible' Edith, who still likes to do her own shopping, reaches 100

Edith Lee, from Colchester, pictured with son Michael on her 100th birthday

Edith Lee, from Colchester, pictured with son Michael on her 100th birthday - Credit: Paul Taylor, Crown Photography

A woman described as "lovely" and "incredible" has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Edith Lee, from Colchester, reached the landmark on Saturday. She received a message of congratulations from The Queen.

Covid-19 restrictions, however, meant that celebrations were very low key but it is intended that later in the year her family and residents of Kendall Terrace almshouses, where she lives, will be able to have a party.

Mrs Lee has two sons, Michael who is 77 and lives in Colchester, and Howard, 75, in Portsmouth. Her daughter Beverley, 67, lives in Cape Town, South Africa, where for many years Mrs Lee had flown to stay for Christmas - although sadly she was not able to last month because of Covid-19. She has seven grandchildren.

A spokeswoman for Kendall Almhouses charity said: “She has been a lovely resident, very much involved in any group activities and, inevitably, in the kitchen helping out at functions and lunches. She is incredible for 100, walking into town most days to do her shopping.”

Asked what the secret was of her long life, she chuckled and said: “Everyone asks me that. I don’t know. Perhaps a glass of whisky every now and again. I also like reading and doing embroidery.”

Mrs Lee, a widow, was born in Bradford, Yorkshire. She moved to Colchester in 2009 to be near her son Michael who for more than 30 years acted as the chauffer to successive Mayors of Colchester when the Council hired a limousine from Hunnaballs family funeral furnishers where he still works.

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Amongst other messages of congratulations were those from Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell and his wife Audrey, Lady Russell. They were Mayor and Mayoress in 1986-87.

Mrs Lee moved with her parents to Morecombe when she was young, and went to school there. Her husband James was from the Lancashire seaside resort.

During the Second World War she worked as a civilian secretary for the RAF in Morecombe. In 1962, when she was aged 42, the family emigrated to what was then Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) for three years before returning to the UK for a period and then came a further emigration, this time to South Africa where she lived until 2000. James died in 1994.

On returning to the UK she first lived with younger son Howard in Portsmouth, but in 2009 moved to Kendall Terrace, off Military Road, where she has lived for the past 11 years.

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