A BORN and bred Tavonian celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday (July 1) with a host of family and friends.

Doreen Draper was born in Tavistock at Crelake Park in 1923, later moving to Yelverton Terrace. She now resides at Abbotsfield Hall Residential Home, where she is continuing to enjoy good health after having been active in many areas of local life throughout the years.

Doreen was a steadfast member of Tavistock Methodist Chapel and the choir there since her teenage years, also singing with the Tamar Valley ladies choir from her twenties until her seventies, which often involved practice and performance each weekend.

She has always been an avid flower-arranger, having run a local club which she founded with a friend, and always helped to arrange flowers at the Methodist Chapel.

Dennis, Doreen’s son, said: ‘Mum recently stepped back from flower arranging but is still able to enjoy a life-long past-time of knitting. She’s always been remarkably good at quizzes too, so that occupies her time well’.

A major highlight in Doreen’s life was attending Buckingham Palace with her late husband George in 1980, who was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for extensive services to charity, particularly relating to Muscular Dystrophy and initiatives encouraging people to cycle more such as ‘Pedal for a Medal’.

Doreen and George met at a dance in Whitchurch in 1942, when was an army service corps sergeant, posted to Tavistock from Hounslow.

George also worked for the electricity board at Mary Tavy hydro-electric power station, later serving as a magistrate in Tavistock, following retirement. He sadly passed away in 1990.

When asked if he had managed to discover the secret to a long life from his mother, Dennis said: ‘I’ve asked this question too! She has a good diet including grapes for breakfast every morning and avoids gravy on her meals, so that’s a little insight’.

On Saturday, Doreen will be enjoying her 100th birthday with family and friends, including seeing her granddaughter (Dennis’s daughter) and her great grandchildren, who will be visiting from Singapore and is hoping to receive her card from King Charles III.

In addition to her main weekend celebrations, the Friendship Club held a special surprise lunch event to commemorate turning 100 yesterday (Wednesday, June 28) at The Anchorage Centre, where those who wished to give a gift were instead welcomed to make a donation to Devon Air Ambulance, a charity Doreen has been a staunch supporter of after her other son (Dennis’s brother) accidentally fell through a barn roof and was airlifted to hospital by the service soon after it first became operational in the early 1990s.