Centenarian Joan Barker got quite the shock from her friends and family, who surprised her at her home in Windsor Court, Waterlooville on Sunday.
‘It was a fantastic day,’ says Joan’s friend and fellow member of the Three Wishes social club Sheila Atrill.
‘She was thrilled to bits, she even broke into tears of joy when we surprised her.’
Born on August 30, 1917, in Portsmouth, Joan moved to Midhurst as a young girl when her father left the Royal Marines, getting a job with Royal Mail as a postman.
When she was 14, Joan got her first job as a housemaid at Uppark House.
Although her daughter Maureen says that Joan ‘was very happy and treated well’ at Uppark House, she went on to have jobs on the Goodwood estate as well as at a doctor’s house in Chichester.
‘Joan worked very hard, and at one point had three part-time jobs,’ says Maureen. ‘But she was always at home to have meals ready when we got home from school, and dad from work.’
Joan was employed by the insurance company Prudential when the Second World War broke out, at which point she joined the fire service as a telephonist.
It was at this time that she met her husband Dick and they married in 1944. With their three children – Maureen, John and Nigel – they lived most of their married life in Dayslondon Road, Purbrook.
Since her husband died Joan has made sure to keep busy in her later years, joining several clubs in Waterlooville and making many friends along the way.
She was also a regular churchgoer at St John’s at Purbrook and she still tries to attend whenever she can.
Her favourite pasttime now, however, is socialising at the Three Wishes Club, where she has enjoyed coffee mornings, social events and a variety of outings.
‘For her age, she’s very lively,’ says Sheila. ‘She can be bossy, but she’s our queen of the club.’