Wearing her finest jewellery, Molly Stignant is as glamorous in her 100th year as she was in her youth.
But she met her match when a special visitor with a big gold chain came to see her for her birthday.
Molly celebrated her centenary with a party at her home in St Vincent House on Clarence Parade, Southsea and received a visit from the Mayor of Portsmouth, Steven Wylie, the day before.
‘I was a bit nervous about meeting him all week, but to my relief he didn’t stay too long,’ jokes Molly.
This VIP visit is low key compared to her 99th celebrations, when Molly took a trip on a speedboat from Gunwharf and around one of the forts in the Solent.
‘I was scared stiff when they started the motor because I can’t swim, but it was thrilling. It was such a beautiful day,’ says Molly.
I was scared stiff when they started the motor because I can’t swim, but it was thrilling.Molly Stignant, 100, on a speedboat trip for her 99th birthday
She was born in Mile End, where she lived with her mother, sister and father, who served in the Royal Navy.
At 14, Molly found a job in the Brunswick laundry in North End, and later moved to Milton. She says: ‘My mother was very good to me. We used to go out together and buy hats. Women used to wear hats all the time – you weren’t dressed properly if you weren’t wearing a hat.’
As a young woman, Molly loved dancing. Her passion began in a hall in Fratton Road, where she learned ballroom dancing.
‘I had a special partner who was a friend of mine. She was a tall girl but she didn’t like it because she had to take the gent’s role,’ says Molly.
She met her husband, Charles Stignant, at a dance, and Molly remembers that the couple loved going on trips to Jersey and Guernsey together.
During the war, Molly was called up and went to Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire where she worked in a factory making parts for planes.
She also worked in the Jokers social club in Osborn Road, Southsea where she served drinks and worked as a receptionist.
‘I had a lot of fun there,’ Molly says.
She recalls that she had to wear black and bought her dresses in Handleys and Knight and Lees in Southsea for £4.