Born Doris Emily Smith on June 11, 1915, the resilient great-grandmother lived through two world wars, the era pre-antibiotics and the Spanish Flu pandemic before recovering from pneumonia and mild Covid-19 after testing positive in April.
Doris – known as Dolly – is due to celebrate her 105th birthday on Thursday in Stroud House care home, near Petersfield, which she moved into in January - but independent Doris was digging in her garden until just a few years ago.
Granddaughter Kate Parker, from Petersfield, said: ‘She’s very chatty and very resilient, she is a very positive and happy person. She’s just amazing, a real family person. She’s feisty even now with her lack of memory!’
Dolly was one of 10 children born to Lily and Hector Smith in Barford, Warwickshire, and grew up on her family’s farm, with happy memories of fresh food and riding pigs around the orchard.
She looked after her five brothers and four sisters, sadly losing one sister Peggy to tuberculosis.
Peggy’s twin Betty recently celebrated her 100th birthday and still lives independently in Leamington Spa. Betty had a visit from the BBC and local emergency services who sent her birthday well wishes at a distance.
Dolly married Edward ‘Ted’ Lymn during World War Two in 1941 after meeting at work.
Ted was a Dunkirk veteran from the Royal Warwickshire regiment, who swam out to catch the last boat back after he had been presumed a casualty while sleeping on the beach.
Dolly supported war efforts and made carburetors for the Lancaster Bombers alongside her sisters in Warwickshire. She would think nothing of riding many miles in the blackouts to dance the Charleston.
Dolly and Ted had four children - Susanne, Michael, Peter and Sylvia - and moved down to Horndean in 1956, where Ted was a retained firefighter and worked as the head copper in Gales Brewery.
They moved to Petersfield in 1967 and Dolly opened a hairdressing salon, Continental Hair Fashions in Lavant Street. They were always involved in community events including the water carnival where they had a float on the lake.
They went on to have 14 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.
After Ted's untimely death in 1979 Dolly re-married in 1982 to Robert Curry, they lived in Liverpool and then settled in Buriton for more than 20 years.
She gained two stepchildren, three step grandchildren, and three step great grandchildren when she married Robert.
On Dolly’s 100th birthday she celebrated in Buriton with 100 guests and her nephew Guy Lymn of Hilsea’s Urban Island Brewing brewed an ale in her honor - DSB, Dolly’s Special Beer.
The secret to her longevity, Dolly states, is good food, a slice of cake and the occasional sherry.
She is very much looking forward to celebrating her 105th birthday on Thursday at a distance with her local family.
Kate added: ‘It should be nice to see her and do cake and have a sherry. It has been brilliant that she has got through it all.’