Joan’s top tip: grin and bear it

Joan Attrill celebrated her 100th birthday with a party at the Green Meadows care home in Denmead where she lives
Joan Attrill celebrated her 100th birthday with a party at the Green Meadows care home in Denmead where she lives
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During her century of life, Joan Attrill has had many interesting occupations, including being a deputy organist for a cinema and working at a zoo.

To celebrate her centenary, Joan had a party at Green Meadows care home in Denmead where she lives.

Joan's secret to long life is staying positive

Joan's secret to long life is staying positive

‘I don’t really feel any different. I’m lucky that I have kept in good health – I get backache but you have to keep smiling, there is no point being miserable,’ says Joan.

Born in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight in 1915, Joan’s earliest memory is standing on her settee and looking out the window at her pet rabbit in the garden.

She met her future husband Edward at school when she was 10, and the pair got married in 1939 before the Second World War broke out.

Before Edward went to war, the couple were living in Brighton, and while he was away Joan worked as an usher and organist at The Regent cinema, playing music to introduce the films and during the interval.

I got on with three of the bears but one wasn’t a happy chap, so I couldn’t get near him.

Joan Attrill, 100, on working at Sandown Zoo on the Isle of Wight

‘When Dunkirk was on, the ushers kept getting news about their husbands, but I hadn’t heard anything.

‘Three days later, at about 11 o’clock, my dad answered the door and I heard Ted’s voice ask “Is Joey home?”. That was his nickname for me, and I almost fell through the passage to see him. He was home safe.’

Joan and Edward had two children, Stuart, 69, and Janet, 66. In later life, the couple moved back to the Isle of Wight, where they both worked at Sandown Zoo.

Joan says: ‘I used to feed some of the animals – foxes, birds and baby bears. I got on with three of the bears but one wasn’t a happy chap, so I couldn’t get near him.’

Joan now spends her time being visited by family and going on minibus trips around Portsmouth.