Dot celebrates her 90th birthday with a party – at work

HELPING OUT Jack Wingate with Dot Coley celebrating her 90th birthday.  Picture: Paul Jacobs (121694-2)
HELPING OUT Jack Wingate with Dot Coley celebrating her 90th birthday. Picture: Paul Jacobs (121694-2)
Picture: Shutterstock

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MOST people consider retiring when they hit the age of 65. But not Dot Coley.

She started a new job volunteering at an older people’s centre.

Now nearly 25 years on, she’s still working at Age UK Portsmouth’s Bradbury Centre, in Kingston Road, and celebrated her 90th birthday there.

Fellow staff and clients threw a surprise birthday bash for Dot, and the organisation’s chief executive Dianne Sherlock presented her with a certificate in recognition of her long-standing service.

Dot, of Long Acre Court, Fratton, said: ‘It was such a surprise, I had no idea. I’d brought in cakes for everyone because I didn’t know they had organised a party, so we had lots of food.

‘And it was brilliant to get the certificate – it made the day even more special.’

The great-grandmother of 15 works five full days a week in the centre and says she has no intention of cutting back her hours now that she’s celebrated the landmark birthday.

‘I love coming here because I have a lot of friends here and I enjoy their company,’ she said.

‘It keeps me fit and healthy and it keeps my mind occupied instead of just sitting at home on my own.

‘My grandson thinks it’s hilarious when I tot off to work at the age of 90 but I’ll keep doing it as long as I can.’

Dot, who started volunteering at the centre after her husband Jack died, added: ‘I was only supposed to be here for three weeks but I liked it so much I just kept coming in.

‘It was great to have people to talk to about what I was going through and meet people who were going through the same sort of thing.’

Fellow workers at the centre held activities for Dot at the party, including games and a specially-baked cake.

Dan Rubin, the centre’s co-ordinator, said: ‘Dot was over the moon, I’ve never seen her so happy – she was bubbling over.

‘It was lovely to see her like that. Everyone in the centre adores her so we wanted to do something special for her.

‘It’s not unusual for us to have volunteers as long as Dot, but it is really unusual for someone to still be volunteering at the age of 90. She’s an incredible woman.’