ANNE Yates of Tavistock celebrated her 100th birthday last week. She was born on June 23, 1916 to a headmistress mother and retailing father.
Cars were not common place in the 1920s. Anne’s first lesson from her father was a ten minute summary of the gear stick, brakes and steering wheel and then off to Bournemouth to pick up stock. This was a car that was the modern day equivalent of an Jaguar XJS! She had no driving license, they were not issued until 1935.
HMS Raleigh, Torpoint, was an important client to her father. During the war she worked with her dad and their staff to distribute clothing items needed by the Naval officers.
Not long after the war Anne opened a pre-school for 60 children running it with just one other person. About the same time she got together with Peter her second husband and they joined the Tavistock Ramblers Club. In their seventies they went to Wales and walked up Pen-Y-Bryn, the highest peak in Wales. When they reached the top, a fellow walker popped open a bottle of Champagne complete with paper cups to share the victory! This busy couple were either playing golf, bridge, rambling, ski-ing, or travelling. Anne has always been an avid bridge player, having played all over the world.
Her thirst for travel continued. Anne and Peter visited Maryland in the USA to see Mike her eldest on his yacht and Venezuela and Bequia in the Grenadines with Andrew, her youngest.
She also delights in her great grandchildren — Felicity, Freddie, Max, Zoe and Mayliss.
When widowed she joined the community at Parkwood Court Tavistock, and continued with her bridge and scrabble. Everyday Anne walked down to the Meadows in Tavistock and around the park.
Even then Anne visited Mike in Trinidad. She travelled alone, in her nineties. Just a few weeks ago she had a hip replacement. However, she is doing well, ever optimistic, nothing gets her down, always looking for the next bridge game.
So what is the secret to a long happy existence? Apart from a good set of genes in Anne’s case it is walking, travelling and a daily gin and tonic when the sun is over the yard arm!