Doris plants a tree to celebrate her 105th birthday

Doris Hern (left) celebrates her 105th birthday at Thalassa Nursing home in Gosport with freinds where they planted a cherry tree to mark the occasion.''''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (131338-2)
Doris Hern (left) celebrates her 105th birthday at Thalassa Nursing home in Gosport with freinds where they planted a cherry tree to mark the occasion.''''Picture: Paul Jacobs (131338-2)
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ONE of the region’s oldest residents has planted a cherry tree in the gardens at her care home to mark her 105th birthday.

Friends of Doris Hern arranged the tree planting and a party at the Thalassa Nursing Home in Western Way, Gosport.

She has been at the home for nearly five years.

Trish Kelly, of Tebourba Drive in Gosport, said: ‘I’ve known Doris all my life and we wanted to do something that would brighten up everybody’s lives as they walk around the grounds or if you want to sit out there.

‘She’s a wonderful person who’s lived such an interesting life.’

Doris was born in Stamshaw, Portsmouth, in 1908, and had a brother and sister.

At 16 she began a nursing career after training in Padstow, in Hayling Island, and later became a district nurse. But she recalls it bore little resemblance to the current hit TV show of that name.

She said: ‘We didn’t have any bikes and there were no street lights, it was very different. It was difficult.’

She was married to John Hern for 51 years, during which time he was a Gosport Town councillor for 12 years, before he died in 1988.

Even now Doris keeps up to speed with local politics, listening to recordings of minutes from local council meetings.

Over the years she has also been very involved with charity, particularly the NSPCC, and is the longest-serving member of the League of Friends for the War Memorial Hospital in Gosport – with 75 years under her belt.

She loves flowers, and particularly orchids, which she used to collect.

‘The cherry tree is a lovely tree,’ she added. ‘I’m blind now, but I can smell it and feel the blossom, it’s wonderful.’

And she puts her relatively youthful appearance down to her attitude to make-up.

‘All the doctors want to know why I’ve got such good skin, and I think it’s because I have never used anything artificial or any cosmetics,’ she said.

The home’s registered nurse manager Fiona Clemson said: ‘Doris is fiercely independent and will do whatever she can for herself.

‘It’s only in the past year that her health has deteriorated a bit, but she’s still got remarkable willpower, to the extent that she’s recently started having some physiotherapy.

‘She enjoys life to the full and the tree will provide some nice memories in years to come.’