Whittlesey woman born on Armistice Day set to turn 100

Remembrance Sunday will be a time of reflection and celebration for one Whittlesey resident who was born on the day the guns fell silent 100 years ago.

Friday, 9th November 2018, 5:01 pm
Updated Monday, 12th November 2018, 1:47 pm
A birthday party for Connie at the care home. Photo: Terry Harris

Constance 'Connie' Hailstone was born on Armistice Day in 1918 and given the middle name Peace on the suggestion of the doctor who delivered her.

Connie has now lived at The Hermitage Rest Home for the last seven years since her husband Thomas and daughter Barbara passed away, and staff have gone out of their way to give the soon to be centenarian a birthday to remember, with Conniie even ready to try champagne for the first time in her life.

"They've done very well," said Connie. "I might get myself a little bit of cake."

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A birthday party for Connie at the care home. Photo: Terry Harris

The middle of five siblings, Connie lived where Perkins Engines is currently based off the Frank Perkins Parkway, and the garden where her cattle trader dad John kept the animals is now the Oxney Road Sainsbury's.

The middle child of five, Connie moved to Newborough then Whittlesey, where she left school at 14.

"I was a happy child. I lived near the Whittlesey Washes and I used to go skating when it froze," she said.

Connie worked picking in the fields which is how she met her future husband, whom she married aged 23.

A birthday party for Connie at the care home. Photo: Terry Harris

Thomas' dad left him land in Stonald Road where the couple continued his celery business,

Like so many others Connie's family have been affected by the First World War, with her mum's brother dying three days after being sent abroad to serve.

Connie was 21 when the Second World War started. She said: "We were on rations - we never got a lot of meat or sweets.

"I was a land worker picking potatoes."

Connie with staff at the care home. Photo: Terry Harris

Connie has two great-grandchildren and will be spending her birthday at The Farmers in Yaxley with grandson Mark.

Her nieces are also coming to visit and there will be a special tea party at The Hermitage.

Asked if the current generation appreciate the sacrifices made by their ancestors, Connie replied: "I think they do sometimes. We had school children come here and they were asking questions about the war. They were here for an hour then they sang all the army songs which was nice.

"But it's getting a funny world. In London there's all this stabbing. We dare not go out at night. When I was a child we could leave our door open. People were different then.

A birthday party for Connie at the care home. Photo: Terry Harris

"They ought to have kept National Service up for the young boys."

Judy Wilson, manager of the care home, said: “It is wonderful that Connie will be 100 on November 11, 2018. It will be such a special day for Constance Peace - her achievement is a remarkable story."

Connie thinks her long life is due to working outdoors and a very happy marriage.